Winston Ramble Celebrates 10 Years With Little Raine Band At Saturn This Week November 20, 2023 09:57

Words by Jordan Kirkland
We're giving away a pair of tickets to Wednesday night's show via the Live & Listen Facebook page. Click the link to our FB page, share this post, and tag a friend in the comments for a chance to win!
It’s safe to say that the night before Thanksiving has become a highly anticipated occasion for the Birmingham music scene. Local favorites Winston Ramble have created what feels like a tradition that's here to stay at Saturn Birmingham, and they're back for round three on Wednesday night. Many will recall last year's rager, which also featured rising "jam grass" stars The Mountain Grass Unit, and this year's bill is equally exciting.
Following a special acoustic Ramble set at 8:45 PM, local legends Little Raine Band will be kicking off what's sure to be a killer set at 9:45 PM. Simply fantastic news for any Birmingham music enthusiast. The roots between these two bands run deep, and if history is any indication, you can expect an evening of heavy collaboration ahead. If I can give anyone reading one piece of advice today, go ahead and purchase your tickets in advance. I'd be willing to bet this one sells out by showtime, and it's just not worth the risk. Click here to snag those tickets while supplies last. 
To make things even sweeter, this show marks the 10th anniversary of Winston Ramble, and what a decade it's been. This folk-rock powerhouse officially took form as a three-piece from the free state of Winston County (AL) back in 2013, and they've been entertaining crowds across Alabama and beyond ever since. Wednesday night’s opening acoustic trio set will be a perfect, fitting nod to the band’s humble beginnings. 
Just a few days ago, I had a chance to catch up with Ramble's Justin Oliver (mandolin / vocals) and Andrew “Ben” Benefield (guitar / vocals) to discuss the anniversary, this week's show, and the latest on what's been keeping the band busy. Check out the conversation below and make sure to head over to the Live & Listen Facebook page, share this post, and tag a friend in the comments for a chance to win a pair of tickets to Wednesday night's show!
The band is officially celebrating its 10 year anniversary as we close out 2023. When looking back over the past decade, what stands out when reflecting on the band’s evolution?
Justin: There’s been so much that has happened that has helped form us into what we are now. Growing as musicians, exposure to different influences, changes in band members, as well as getting older and experiencing more of life, while trying to incorporate it into what we’re playing. It really doesn’t seem like ten years, but looking back, I can hear the changes if nothing else. And it still all feels like Ramble.
How is the band feeling about it’s current iteration, and what does the future look like for Ramble?
Justin: This iteration feels like home. We’ve really fallen into our own sound and leaned more towards it throughout the years. We’ve come a long way since the acoustic trio we started as but every iteration and member from the past until now has played an important role to us finding our sound now. We’ve always had a kind of open interpretation to everyone playing their own parts as they see fit. There’s a freedom and vulnerability that comes with that which has always allowed us to play into each others talents and stay true to our original vibes on a new level. 
Wednesday night marks the 3rd year in a row that Ramble has played the night before Thanksgiving at Saturn. How has this become such a special tradition for the band?
Justin: It’s always been a big night for us and probably the show we put the most energy into each year. We put thought into the song choices and they all mean something to us for this show. And this year is no different. We’ll kick off the night with a short acoustic set, much like we started. Our musical brothers in LRB fit perfectly and we’ve probably shared the stage with them more than any other band throughout the ten years. We’ve planned our set to include songs from our biggest influences, local bands we’ve loved, and choice tunes from the whole Ramble catalog. Personally, this show just kicks off the holidays right, in my mind, every year.
It’s been a while since Ramble’s last studio release. I’ve heard through the grapevine that you guys have something exciting in the works. What can your fans expect from this session?
Ben: Well your sources are correct! We recorded a single recently in the Shoals and are hoping to release it  soon.  It’s a pretty straight forward rock’n’roll tune that Ramble does best, back to basics for us in a sense. It’s called “Whole New Way” and you will for sure hear it on Wednesday.
When looking ahead to 2024, what are a few of the goals set out for the band next year? What should the Ramble faithful be most excited about?
Ben: We’re not trying to be on the road as much as we have been in the past, but we’ll still play regularly and plan on diving deeper into some new original material. We’ve really cracked the code to what our sound is and want to focus on capturing it in a studio setting as we know it now. We’re also toying with the idea of a live album, so be on the lookout for that too.

Suwannee Hulaween Celebrates 10 Years With Spirit Lake Immersive Art October 23, 2023 10:30

Photos by Isom Morgan

Suwannee Hulaween is celebrating its 10th anniversary in Live Oak, Florida at Spirit of the Suwannee Music Park this week from Thursday October 26th - Sunday October 29th 2023. As a special way to commemorate this year’s Hulaween, festival organizers have unveiled the Spirit Lake Immersive art programming for the first time ever. Spirit Lake has earned the reputation of being one of the premier immersive art experiences on the festival scene, since Hulaween's inception in 2013.
“At the helm of this new era for Spirit Lake is the new Creative Director, Justin Bolognino who is the CEO and co-founder of META. The company creates live, multi-sensory experiences that use technology, design, and storytelling to ignite the human senses and spirit. Bolognino's previous work consists of designing immersive artistic experiences in collaboration with artists such as Skrillex, Phish, Questlove, Porter Robinson, Tiësto, and many more. In addition to working with musical acts, META also has various brand clients such as Google, Spotify, Samsung, Vimeo, and more. Gearing up for his first Hulaween edition as Spirit Lake’s Creative Director, Bolognino has fortified the classic installations that
fans have come to know and love as well as curating 10 additional installations and experiences.”
Spirit Lake hosts an array of talent, filled with artist from numerous specialties such as painters, sculptors, lighting designers, fire/metal workers, craftsman, and thespians. Spirit Lake art installations and other various features are usually kept secret ahead of the festival, but in honor of its 10th year in existence Hulaween has revealed that there will be 10 new installations for attendees to explore. Also,
this year each artist and art collective will be credited across all platforms (festival app, website, onsite signage, etc.).

Some of the new installations consist of:

Chatterpillars is a new installation by Essi Rhodes that will consist of two human-size caterpillars meant to inspire a change in perspective. Fans can interact with the installation by talking into the caterpillar's mouth so that a friend or stranger on the other side can hear their thoughts.

The Cosmic Portal is another new interactive, wooden LED sculpture designed by Tyler Schrader. Equipped with over 5000 LEDs and projection mapping, this sculpture is equipped with a device that detects electrical variations of plants, translating them into vibrations, audio, and visual experiences that encourage attendees to reconnect with nature using technology.

Subloominal Voxeleyes will showcase interactive bioluminescent mushrooms in their Bioshroom display which are created by growing and foraging real mushrooms that are 3D scanned and digitally sculpted to be 3D printed.

Save the TV’s - Irregular Scheduled Programming will utilize old style tube televisions and get creative with them visually to get people to think twice about discarding old electronics.

Rounding out the new installations are: Daniel Shields’ UV reactive Portal Prism, Charlie Black Cat Smith’s flame-infused interactive steel sculpture, The Fleeble Flobbler, Tyson Ayers’ The Sound Cave, Gnome Village Minis from John Grillo, a unique Campground Stage Design from Hannah Miller and Justin Bolognino, and brand design + illustration from Young & Sick.
Several of the Spirit Lake classics will be returning this year. Marvelous Marv will lead Frick Frack BlackJack once again for those fans wanting to risk it in this no cash, no limit casino. A huge fan favorite is the projection mapping over the lake by Jasper & Shelby Mosher.

Cory Glenn is bringing back Incendia this year to Hulaween. This installation serves as one of Hulaween’s stages as well and is known to have amazing once in a lifetime collabs by musicians/producers take place in the fire that surrounds the stage.

Paul Kuhn, the genius behind Twelve Limbs Art Studio is bringing back his larger-than-life sculptural pieces with include the Ogres, The Ferryman, Witch and more.

Covering over 15,00 square feet this year, The Mural Maze will be led by Ania Amador. The Mural Maze which started at the first annual Hulaween has continued to grow over the past decade and this year is expanding even more to include a lounge and workshop space called Deliberate Creation Station.

Other well-known installations returning for the 10 th Annual Suwannee Hulaween include Lost Creations’ House of Lost, Duende Builds sustainability-built Birdhouses, The Haunted House presented by Efren Rebugio Jr & Chris Robertson, Thomas Dambo’s The Spider, and Spirit Lake deco design by RÜTS.
Headliners for this year’s Suwanee Hulaween include six sets from festival founders The String Cheese Incident, Trey Anastasio Band, Goose, John Summit, Elderbrook, Big Wild, Channel Tres, Les Claypool’s Fearless Flying Frog Brigade, Joe Russo’s Almost Dead, Smino, Dispatch, and an exclusive East Coast festival appearance from Pretty Lights with 2 sets. Tickets are SOLD OUT for this years Hulaween. The official schedule dropped last week on Hulaween website and App.

Gov't Mule Delivers Incredible 'Dark Side Of The Mule' Performance August 22, 2023 18:01

Words by Monica Dean

Photos by Craig Baird Photography

It’s way past curfew at Cadence Bank Amphitheatre at Chastain Park, but jam band legends Gov’t Mule are still playing to a sold-out crowd. The evening in Atlanta started late thanks to a southern summer downpour, but eventually, it let up and fans who waited it out got to experience the musical and visual journey known as "Dark Side of the Mule."

Gov’t Mule, fronted by former Allman Brothers guitarist and vocalist Warren Haynes, surprised fans at their 2008 Halloween show with a set of Pink Floyd covers, later released as a live album, Dark Side of the Mule. This year, for the 50th anniversary of Pink Floyd’s musical masterpiece, The Dark Side of the Moon, Haynes brings the Pink Floyd experience back on tour one last time.

The first set was devoted to Gov’t Mule originals and featured Haynes, drummer Matt Abts, keyboardist Danny Louis and new bassist Kevin Scott. Scott moved to Atlanta after listening to a Col. Bruce Hampton record he got at a flea market and eventually started playing with Col. Bruce, Jimmy Herring, John McLaughlin and others before joining Gov’t Mule in June. Scott is the perfect fit for Mule, and he proved it all night.

Mule played five songs from their first album and three songs from their twelfth studio album, Peace...Like A River, released in June. The band opened with a raucous "Mule," which featured a tease of Ronnie Hawkins' "Who Do You Love," and a prime opportunity for the band to feature Scott's incredible work on the bass. After playing “Peace I Need”, Hayes thanked the crowd and said, “That was a new song, this is another new song and then we’re going to play another new song” which raised loud cheers from fans. The second new song, “Dreaming Out Loud” again showcased Scott’s funky bass style and “Same as it Ever Was,” alternated velvety vocals and guitar from Haynes and keyboardist Louis, with a hard southern rock chorus before finishing as softly as it began.  

You could feel the energy change for the second set as Gov’t Mule was joined by saxophonist Ron Holloway, keyboardist/guitarist Jackie Green and vocalists Machan Taylor and Sophia Ramos. The otherworldly sounds of Louis’ synthesizer slowly built into “Shine on you Crazy Diamond” as the Dark Side of the Mule logo was projected on the stage and Haynes stuck the first sustained chords.  Holloway, who participated in the original Dark Side of the Mule in 2008, shined in the spotlight for a soulful sax performance which peaked in a display of green and blue laser beams. Pink Floyd pioneered the use of lasers on The Dark Side of the Moon tour, and the lighting team at Pulse Lighting (designer Preston Hoffman, touring crew Trevor Creany, Griff Collins, Justin Baker) perfectly recreated the visual immersive experience integral to a Pink Floyd show. 

Speaking more than singing, Mule drummer Abts took over on “Have a Cigar,'' changing the lyrics to “Oh, by the way/Which one's the mule?”.  Ramos and Taylor's soulful vocals were a highlight of the night, especially as they wailed “The Great Gig in the Sky”. “Us and Them” seemed to float lightly into the “Wind”. Scott switched bass guitars for “One of These Days'' and slapped a funky rhythm that was fun to watch. Haynes and Greene shared vocals on “Echoes” to finish the set. 

Because of the rain delay, Gov’t Mule had already played 30 minutes past Chastain Park’s strict curfew, but Haynes walked back onstage and said “We would like to thank Chastain for giving us extra time so we could do our whole show” and finished the evening with the Pink Floyd essentials, “Comfortably Numb” and “Wish You Were Here.” 

Dark Side of the Mule was a fantastic tribute. They played Pink Floyd in the most respectful way while still making it their own. It was much more than a concert, it was a complete musical and visual experience no fan should miss. The Dark Side of the Mule tour has one last stop in St. Augustine before Gov’t Mule returns to performing their original catalog of music through the end of the year.

Watch Gov't Mule performing Pink Floyd's "Comfortably Numb" in Atlanta:

Link to Zman’s recording of Gov't Mule in Atlanta on 08.12.23

Click Here To Download The Show

Gov't Mule

Chastain Park Amphitheatre

Atlanta, Georgia


Disc I Gov't Mule

01 Mule >

02 Who Do You Like >

03 Mule

04 Temporary Saint >

05 *Trane >

06 Peace I Need

07 Dreaming Out Loud

08 Same As It Ever Was >

Disc II #Dark Side Of The Mule

01 Shine On You Crazy Diamond Parts I-V >

02 Have A Cigar >

03 Speak To Me >

04 Breathe >

05 On The Run

06 Time >

07 Breathe Reprise >

08 The Great Gig In The Sky

Disc III #Dark Side Of The Mule

01 Money >

02 Us And Them >

03 Any Colour You Like >

04 Wind >

05 One Of These Days >

06 Wind >

07 Fearless >

08 Chant >

09 Wind >

10 Echoes Part II >

11 Wind

Encore I:

12 Wind >

13 Comfortably Numb

Encore II:

14 Warren Thank You!

15 Wish You Were Here

* With Norwegian Wood Tease At The 4:28 Mark

# With:

Warren Haynes - Guitar And Vocals

Jackie Greene - Keyboards, Guitar, And Vocals

Kevin Scott - Bass

Danny Louis - Keyboards And Vocals

Matt Abts - Drums And Vocals

Ron Holloway - Saxophone

Machan Taylor - Vocals

Sophia Ramos - Vocals


Jason Bonham's Led Zeppelin Evening Brings "Whole Lotta Love" To Atlanta August 18, 2023 01:05


Words by Monica Dean

Photos by Craig Baird Photography

Jason Bonham’s Led Zeppelin Evening brought a “Whole Lotta Love” to Atlanta this past Saturday night. Sitting center stage behind a large, raised drum kit with a picture of his late father, Led Zeppelin drummer John Bonham on the bass drum head, Bonham welcomed fans to Cadence Bank Amphitheatre at Chastain Park. This performance was one of many in direct support of Gov't Mule's 'Dark Side of the Mule' tour this summer. 

Bonham and his band paid tribute to Led Zeppelin, going though the musical catalog of one the most legendary rock bands in the world. Telling stories throughout the night, he told fans “This is something I started 13 years ago to pay homage and respect to my father and the music of Led Zeppelin. We share the music. We are all fans here just like you are.” 

James Dylan, who was discovered on YouTube by Bonham, channels the vocals of Robert Plant and delivers on all the wails and high notes.  Dylan throws his energy into the crowd who throws it right back singing along to classics like “Over the Hills and Far Away”, “Ramble On”, and “Whole Lotta Love”. Jimmy Sakurai (lead guitar) has the sound and style of Jimmy Page so completely locked in that it might have you doing a double take. Dorian Heartsong (bass) and Alex Holliman (keyboards/guitar) complete the Led Zeppelin sound. 

Jason Bonham’s Led Zeppelin Evening was more than a standard tribute show. It is a way for Bonham to share his father with music fans and honor one of the most important bands in musical history. The love, passion, and pride is evident as Boham closes the show with the message, “Tell the one you're with you love them everyday".

Bonham and company will be touring through September. He will also be filling in for Kris Myers, drummer for Umphrey's McGee, at the ALL IN Music and Arts Festival in Indianapolis, Indiana, while Myers recovers from shoulder surgery. Bonham has previously played with Umphrey's McGee at both Red Rocks and Lockn’ Festival, covering songs like “Good Times, Bad Times” “Whole Lotta Love”, “Immigrant Song”, “Kashmir”,  and” Ramble On”, so it's safe to expect some Led Zeppelin covers this go-round.

Watch Jason Bonham's LZE perform "Ramble On" in Atlanta [08.12.23]:

Jason Bonham's Led Zeppelin Evening

Chastain Park Amphitheatre

Atlanta, Georgia



01 In The Light > 

02 Good Times, Bad Times > 

03 Jason Banter

04 Over The Hills And Far Away

05 Ramble On 

06 What Is And What Should Never Be

07 Thank You 

08 Immigrant Song >

09 Black Dog 

10 Misty Mountain Hop

11 Whole Lotta Love

12 Rock And Roll

13 Band Introductions

The Band:

Jimmy Sakurai - Guitar + Vocals

James Dylan - Vocals + Acoustic Guitar 

Dorian Heartsong - Bass

Alex Holliman - Guitar + Keyboards

Jason Bonham - Drums + Vocals

Check below to listen to Zman’s recording of the show:

Here's Why We're Counting The Days 'Til Hulaween 2023 July 27, 2023 14:22

Words and Photos by Isom Morgan

Isom Morgan Photography

In late October, The Spirit of the Suwannee Music Park  in Live Oak, FL will transform into an entity known as Hulaween. Hulaween has established itself as one of the premier annual music and arts festivals in the world. Celebrating its 10 year anniversary, festival organizers hit it out of the park with their lineup for 2023. The dynamic lineup showcases a diverse genre blending list of musical talent. Taking place October 26th – October 29th, this festival should be on your radar for must see festivals this year.

The headlining acts for the 10th annual Hulaween are phenomenal. One headliner in creating significant buzz in the music world on the date of the initial drop was Pretty Lights. After a 5 year hiatus, Pretty Lights announced his 27 date Soundship Spacesystem tour, with Hulaween being the only east coast festival on the tour.  With all of Pretty Lights upcoming shows being sold out, this set will be a must see for those in attendance.  

Host band The String Cheese Incident will of course keep the Hula tradition going and play three nights of music throughout the weekend. One of SCI’s performances will be a special themed “She-Bang” set on Saturday night. Trey Anastasio Band and Goose will perform back to back sets on the same night. Festival goers will certainly be anticipating a possible collaboration between the two bands that evening; considering their joint tour across the northeast in the fall of 2022.  Other jamband headliners include Joe Russo’s Almost Dead and Les Claypool’s Fearless Flying Frog Brigade.

Electronic music lovers are in for a treat as Hulaween welcomes tech-house wizard John Summit, Grammy-nominated producer Elderbrook, house producer/vocalist Channel Tres (DJ set), and Big Wild to the stages as headliners. Filling in the hip-hop headlining spot is rapper/singer Smino.  Mt. Joy will bring their unique indie-rock sound to round the list of headliners for this years Suwannee Hulaween.

Click Here: Purchase Your 2023 Weekend Pass

Additional performers included in this year's lineup include the funky sounds of Lettuce, Maryland natives Pigeons Playing Ping Pong, Kitchen Dwellers for the bluegrass lovers, Jennifer Hartswick Band and Eddie Roberts (formerly of The New Mastersounds) & The Lucky Strokes. DOMI & JD Beck may be one of the most intriguing and exciting acts on the bill. This young duo is as loaded with talent as any that you will find. 

There are numerous acts supporting the electronic element of Hula, such as Manic Focus, BLOND:ISH, Gioli & Assia, Boogie T, Marvel Years, MZG, and Lab Group, just to name a few. 

The 10th Annual Hulaween lineup has over 90 acts total covering an array of genres. The festival is also known for the way creators transform the lake located the middle of Suwannee Music Park into “Spirit Lake.”  Spirit Lake is an immersive art experience that has proved to be one of the best on the festival scene. Artists, dancers, fire spinners, lighting designers, fire/metal crafters, aerialists, projector mappers, and other performers come from all around the world to help create a truly out of this world mind blowing art experience.  

Suwannee Music park is as beautiful of a property as you can find, with the Suwannee River running right thru it. Draped with spanish moss in the trees and lush landscape throughout the park, it has proved itself to be the perfect venue for those who want camp and dance under stars all night long throughout the weekend. As we reflect back on past memories and begin to mentally prepare for the 10th year of Hula, there is simply no doubt that this will be the festival's strongest outing to date. 

Check out the official Hulaween 2023 hype video here:


moe. Returns to Birmingham on Friday Night at Avondale Brewery July 18, 2023 21:34

Words by Jordan Kirkland: Live & Listen
Photo by Paul Citone
Buffalo-born jam veterans moe. are set to make their triumphant return to Birmingham, AL on Friday night, and this show looks to be a very special occasion for many reasons. This will be the band's first performance at Avondale Brewing Company since 2014, as well as their first Birmingham appearance with Nate Wilson (keyboards/organ/vocals) on board. Prior to joining forces with moe., Wilson was most notably known for his work as a founding member of Assembly of Dust
As many will recall, guitarist Chuck Garvey suffered a serious stroke back in November of 2021, forcing the band to make yet another major pivot. This came just four years after bassist Rob Derhak was diagnosed with oropharyngeal cancer, and just months after the music industry was finally beginning to recover from the COVID-19 pandemic.
Wilson, a long time collaborator of the band, was called on to help fill the void of Garvey's absence during his long road to recovery. This marked the first time that the band ever featured a full-time keyboardist, as they were amongst the original pioneers in their corner of the music industry to feature two legitimate lead guitarists in Garvey and Al Schnier.
Garvey was finally able to join his bandmates on stage again in Philadelphia, PA on December 31st (2022), and the band announced his full-time return for their 2023 Winter Tour just 11 days later. Wilson proved to be such a valuable addition that the band decided to retain him as a full-time member; making the band an official six-piece for the first time in their 34 year history. 
Birmingham music fans will have the opportunity to welcome back Garvey, while getting their first taste of Wilson's keyboard wizardry, on Friday night in Avondale. Those who were fortunate enough to catch moe.'s Winter Tour shows in nearby Huntsville and Atlanta can attest that the band is truly back in full force, and this show is not to be missed. 
Friday night will be moe.'s first Birmingham appearance since December 6th (2018) at Iron City Bham. Tickets are moving fast, but they can still be purchased via Avondale Brewery's official website. The show, which is presented by Code-R Productions, is set to kick off at 6:30 PM and conclude at 10:00 PM. So go ahead and grab your tickets and prepare for what is sure to be one of the best shows of the year in Birmingham!
Watch moe. perform "Kyle's Song" at Brooklyn Bowl in Brooklyn, NY on March 18th (2023) here:

Looking Back: Widespread Panic's Two Nights at Mempho Music Festival October 6, 2022 13:40


Words by Monica Dean

Photos by Craig Baird: Home Team Photography

Widespread Panic returned to Memphis,Tennessee last weekend to headline two nights of the Mempho Music Festival at the beautiful Memphis Botanic Gardens.  Fans enjoyed the sunshine while listening to Adia Victoria, Bette Smith, Futurebirds, Jason Isbell, Fantastic Negrito, The Black Keys, Amy Lavere, Celise, Delvon Lamarr Organ Trio, Portugal The Man, Big Ass Truck, Elizabeth King, Allison Rusell, Bobby Rush, Wilco, Tank And The Bangas, and Widespread Panic on two stages.

Saturday night started off with JoJo Hermann pounding out "All Time Low" on his piano. Panic continued with a hefty "Rock" before slowing it down for "C. Brown," "You Should Be Glad," and "Junior." Grabbing the keys, John Bell took the crowd for a ride on his "Love Tractor". Duane Trucks and Sunny Ortiz drove the beat into "Wondering."  Dave Schools led into a boogie-inducing "Walkin’ (For Your Love)". Herman took us back to his first show at the Georgia Theatre with "One Armed Steve" where he was kicked out of the venue because his picture was not on the poster with the rest of the band members. 

The weather was perfect in Memphis for a stroll out the back porch with "Holden Oversoul" followed by a "Tallboy" to quench the crowd's thirst. Chuck Leavell, former keyboardist for The Allman Brothers Band, joined Herman at the keys for "Jessica" and dusted off a cover played only once before with Leavell in Atlanta in 2015, 264 shows ago. Leavell stayed on stage to share the vocals with Bell for The Rolling Stones' classic, "Can't Always Get What You Want". The one set show ended in a hat trick of covers with Jerry Joseph's "Climb to Safety".

A backwards hat JB walked onto the Mempho Music Festival stage on night two, a sure sign that things were about to get real. After a nod and a thank you to Wilco who came on before  Panic, the set started off with Bloodkin's "Make Sense To Me," "Little Kin," and a "Machine" jam that slipped effortlessly into "Barstools & Dreamers."  Bell then grabbed some Memphis BBQ sauce and Tennessee whiskey for a delicious "Ribs and Whiskey."

An exuberant Bobby Rush, blues musician, joined Widespread Panic onstage after playing earlier in the day. Rush played the harmonica and jumped around the stage to play "Gotta Have Money" with so much energy that he gained great big grins from Bell and Schools, before walking over for a little dueling guitar and harmonica with Jimmy Herring. The blues man stayed on stage as Schools dropped the baseline into a much anticipated "Bowlegged Woman" with Rush on harmonica. Bell served up "Thought Sausage" to feed the crowd's soul. 

Hermann rolled right into a funky cover of “Ride Me High.” Widespread Panic continued to give fans more, more, more with a rambunctious “Fishwater."  Continuing with the uninterrupted flow of music, Bell growled out the lyrics to a smoking “Red Hot Mama” and a scorching “Tie Your Shoes”.  Finally taking a break, Bell grabbed his black guitar for a final cover of Vic Chesnutt’s “Protein Drink / Sewing Machine” to close out a fantastic weekend.

Widespread Panic returns to the fan favorite Riverside Theater in Milwaukee for three sold out nights October 21-23.

Setlists via


Set: Makes Sense To Me, Little Kin, Machine > Barstools and Dreamers, Ribs and Whiskey, Gotta Have Money*, Bowlegged Woman*, Dyin’ Man, Thought Sausage > Ride Me High > Fishwater > Red Hot Mama > Tie Your Shoes > Honky Red, Protein Drink / Sewing Machine 


* w/ Bobby Rush on vocals and harmonica

– ‘Gotta Have Money’ first time played (Bobby Rush)

–  Entire show with Edie Jackson (ASL interpreter)


Makes Sense To Me, Lil Kin, Machine > Barstools and Dreamers, Ribs and Whiskey, Got To Have Money*+ > Bowlegged Woman*, Dyin' Man, Thought Sausage > JAM > Ride Me High > Fishwater > Red Hot Momma > Tie Your Shoes > Honky Red > Protein Drink / Sewing Machine


*Bobby Rush on vocals and harmonica

+ FTP... Bobby Rush

–  Entire show with Edie Jackson (ASL interpreter)

Bird Dog Jubilee Preps for Late Night at Aisle 5 on October 1st September 21, 2022 09:00

Photo by Katherine Avery 
Words by Jordan Kirkland: Live & Listen
Atlanta-based jam band Bird Dog Jubilee recently announced the details on their next hometown throw down at Aisle 5 in Little 5 Points. Those who follow the local music scene can attest to the fact that this band has become a true staple over the better part of the last decade. Their latest announcement comes in the form of a late night set at Aisle 5 immediately after the red hot Goose wraps up night one of two at nearby Pullman Yards on Saturday, October 1st
They're fresh off the release of their first full-length album, Bird Dog Jubilee, and currently working on the release of their next single. While the lineup has seen a few changes over the years, founding members RJ Fyfe and Kyle Denis couldn't be happier with the latest additions of Iain Thomas (drums) and DJ Rees (guitar/keys). The band couldn't be more locked in, and October 1st looks to be another killer chapter in the BDJ story.
We recently caught up with members of BDJ to get all of the latest details. Our full Q&A can be found below. Tickets are already moving fast for this one, and if you're planning on making it to the show, we recommend grabbing your tickets today. This show will almost certainly sell out in advance, so do yourself a favor and click here to secure your spot. 
Artwork by Danny Evans: This Old Engine 

How has this year shaped up for the band thus far?

Kyle Denis: Releasing our first full LP was a highlight. We put our whole heart into recording the songs and were able to polish arrangements to give our fans some surprises that differ from the live versions. Aside from our LP, we've been keeping busy on the road more than ever. From our debut in New Orleans all the way to Charleston, we have hit a stride with touring.

What has the focus of the band been since getting settled with the current lineup?

RJ Fyfe: Since going through a couple lineup changes over the years, and most recently during the pandemic we feel great about the current lineup. We are the most together we have ever been and that is really proving rewarding for us. I think that this lineup has certainly allowed us to explore different avenues while really achieving a big sound.

Aisle 5 seems to be home base for you guys. What is it about this venue that works so well for you guys?

RJ Fyfe: Aisle 5 is our home in Atlanta. No doubt about it. There are a ton of great venues in our city, but Aisle 5 is where we really feel comfortable. Some of our best shows have been in that room, and the staff are literally like family. Being able to fill a room with friends that have been to every show, or maybe their first show, is a really gratifying thing for us.

What's on the horizon for BDJ the rest of this year?

Iain Thomas: We’re back in the studio, putting the finishing touches on our next single so look out for that soon. It’s a ballad called "Stormy Seas." Plus, we have a lot more songs lined up to record. Along with a busy tour schedule which we are looking forward to adding to it, we are going to continue to hit venues around the southeast.

For those who might be catching their first BDJ show on October 1st, what can they expect from y'all's performance?

Iain Thomas: For people checking out their first BDJ show, you can expect it to be completely unique. As we do play Aisle 5 a couple times a year, we make a conscious effort to make each one of the home town shows completely different than the last. You can expect to hear original music, both new and old, with new covers each time.

Looking Ahead To This Year's Suwanee Hulaween Festivities September 15, 2022 11:33

Words by Isom Morgan

Photos by Isom Morgan Photography

In a just under two months from now, Suwannee Hulaween is returning home to Spirit of the Suwannee Music Parkin Live Oak, Florida on Thursday, October 27th thru Sunday, October 29thHulaween is a Halloween-themed festival nestled in the middle of the woods in northern Florida. This festival, which includes music, arts, and camping, is known for pulling musical talent from several different genres. 

Ever since the first Hulaween back in 2013, the festival has stood out as one of the premier music events in the country. Back in early June, Hulaween organizers released a stellar lineup for the 9th edition of the festival. The lineup is stacked with national acts specializing in electronic, hip-hop, funk, jam, indie, and bluegrass. Suwannee Hulaween once again has hit it out of the park with their musical talent.

Headliners for this year consist of veteran Hulaweeners such as The String Cheese Incident (performing 3 nights), the jamtronica of STS9, funky jams from The Disco Biscuits, Portugal The Man, CloZeeand Sylvan EssoAlso making their Hulaween debut this year is RainbowKitten Surprise bringing their unique alternative rock indie sound, the diverse sound of Louis the Child, and the funky Fearless Flyers are amongst some of the other headliners on this year’s Hulaween lineup.

This year's Hulaween will also include live sets from several top-notch acts like: Lettuce, Cory Wong, Leftover Salmon, Franc Moody, Neil Frances, Twiddle, Lewis Del Mar, Circles Around The Sun, Manic Focus Live Band, Margo Price, Liquid Stranger, and The Main Squeeze, Maddy O’Neal, Toubab Krewe and many more.

Hulaween is once again allowing electronic music collectives to take place one of the stages.“Stage Takeovers” are hosted by Liquid Stranger’s Wakaan, Desert Hearts, and LP Giobbi’s FemmeHouse.These electronic collectives always prove to be a non-stop dance party in the meadows of Suwannee Music Park.Festival fans will also be in for a treat when Big Gigantic and NGHTMRE collab for the first time on stage as Gigantic NGHTMRE.

Suwannee Hulaween is also well known for it incredible art displays throughout the park, especially “Spirit Lake.”The perimeter of the lake is canvased with painters, sculptures, fire/metal workers, lighting designers, murals, and thespians prancing about.In the middle of the lake will be one of the most amazing light shows in the world in my humble opinion. There are also two stages surrounding the lake so you can immerse yourself in the sounds of your favorite bands while being visually stimulated by the fine eclectic arts around you. For the night owls, there is a silent disco that will keep you dancing well into the sunrise and beyond if your heart desires.

This festival is always at the top of my list every year for a must do.I highly recommend giving Suwannee Hulaween a chance if you have never been. Fans were so eager to get back this year, the blind sale sold out pretty much instantly.Tickets are still on sale to the public on Hulaween’s website (

Check out the official Hulaween 2022 hype video here:

A Hundred Drums
Artikal Sound System
Black Pumas
Blaque Dynamite
Butcher Brown ft. Nigel Hall
Circles Around The Sun
Cory Wong
Danielle Ponder
David Shaw
Desert Hearts (Mikey Lion, Lee Reynolds, Marbs, Porky)
Dogs In A Pile
Eugene Snowden
Fearless Flyers
Franc Moody
Future Joy
Gigantic NGHTMRE
Gorgon City
Isaiah Sharkey
Jauz (Off The Deep End set)
Kaleena Zanders
Karina Rykman
Kyle Hollingsworth Band
Leftover Salmon
Lewis Del Mar
Liquid Stranger (Wakaan takeover)
Liz Cooper
Louis The Child
LP Giobbi (Femme House Takeover)
Maddy O'Neal
Manic Focus (live band)
Margo Price
Mark Lettieri Group
Maya Jane Coles
Molly Tuttle & Golden Highway
Neil Frances
Of The Trees
Paper Idol
Player Dave
Portugal. The Man
Rainbow Kitten Surprise
Sylvan Esso
Tape B
The Disco Biscuits
The Iceman Special
The Main Squeeze
The String Cheese Incident
Three Star Revival
Toubab Krewe
Tripp St
Two Feet
Wednesday Night Titans

Hog Days Preview: An Interview with Sam Bush August 19, 2022 11:50

Photos via Sam Bush

Interview by Jordan Kirkland: Live & Listen

My hometown of Montgomery, Alabama is not traditionally known as a major hub for live music. Most of your local music fanatics would attest that you're typically going to be driving up I-65 to Birmingham or I-85 to Atlanta in order to catch your favorite bands on tour. When I decided to launch Live & Listen in 2014, this was a major source of motivation. You were starting to see a new wave of likeminded, progressive locals working together to bring new and exciting events to Montgomery, and that was something I wanted to be a part of. 

Early on in 2017, I was introduced to a group of guys (Druids Charity Club) working to start an annual music and BBQ festival. It took no time at all to realize that the Druids team was serious about bringing something major to Montgomery. The event would ultimately be known as Hog Days of Summer, which raises thousands of dollars annually for pediatric cancer. They've successfully rounded up the River Region's top BBQ connoisseurs and a top notch event production company to produce one of Montgomery's most anticipated annual events at the Union Station Train Shed. The entire community seems to have embraced Hog Days from day one, which has been a beautiful process to watch unfold. 

In just a few years, Hog Days has already featured the likes of Robert Earl Keen, North Mississippi Allstars, The Band of Heathens, and Jupiter Coyote. They've managed to outdo themselves once again this year, with a lineup featuring Sam Bush Band, Anders Osborne, Black Joe Lewis & The Honeybears, Ally Venable Band, Ben Prestage, and Ms. Aretta Woodruff. The family-friendly festival is scheduled for Saturday, August 27th in downtown Montgomery.

In preparation for next weekend, we sat down with headliner Sam Bush earlier this week. Considered one of the originators of progressive bluegrass music, Bush has built one of the most built one of the most decorated resumes the genre has ever seen, including collaborations with Bela FleckLeon RussellGarth BrooksEmmylou HarrisLyle LovettJerry Douglas, and many more. See below for the full conversation and make sure to follow Sam on Facebook and Instagram for all of the latest updates.

Click Here: Purchase Tickets to Hog Days of Summer!

Great to speak with you today, Sam. I usually start these interviews off with some basic history. I'd love to hear about how you got started as a musician and ultimately made your way to bluegrass?

Sam: Well, I grew up on a tobacco and cattle farm outside of Bowling Green, Kentucky. Our parents were music lovers. My father played the fiddle and a little bit of mandolin. My mother played the guitar. That led to two of my sisters and me getting interested in music. I started playing mandolin at age 11. Pretty quickly, my sisters had already started to sing folk music, so I started playing with them. I picked up the fiddle around age 13, and within a year, I was playing in a bluegrass band as the kid fiddler. 

I grew up in household where music was greatly encouraged. Our parents didn't want us to have to work as hard as they did on the farm, and we didn't (laughs). I started playing guitar and bass in rock bands in high school. I played drums in the marching band, singing in the chorus, and playing bass violin in the school orchestra. 

I also has the advantage of Nashville television in the 60s. I got to watch a lot of Grand Ole Opry performances and really watch how the musicians' hands worked. Plus, in the era of the Ed Sullivan Show, I saw all of the performances by The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, and. Jefferson Airplane. So, I got interested in rock and roll with all of the TV and radio that was going down at the time. 

At age 18, when I got out of high school, I moved up to Louisville and started playing in a band called The Bluegrass Alliance. I did what we call "going to bluegrass college," and you play four sets a night / five nights a week. It really tightens up the band. That's kind of how I got into bluegrass. As a young mandolin player, the instrument itself kind of let me to bluegrass, because that's where the great mandolin players, like Bob Osborne and Bill Monroe, were. 

I'm glad that you mentioned The Bluegrass Revival. Tell me a little bit about the formation of that band and how far you went with it. 

Sam: We were four of the members of a five-piece band. That band was called The Bluegrass Alliance. When we came to a parting of the ways with our fiddle player, he owned the name of the band. So, basically, four of us quit and became The Bluegrass Revival in the fall of 1971. I was the only one who was in the band the entire time, which ended up being 18 years. I think that took us up to 1990. For our last show ever, we opened up on New Year's Eve (December 31st 1989) for The Grateful Dead at the Oakland Coliseum in California. So, that was a great way to do your last job, right?

No kidding!

Sam: After that, I played for five years with Emmylou Harris. I needed a break from band leading. I played in Emmylou's band, The Nash Ramblers, for five years. We won a Grammy in 1993 for Country Vocal Group of the Year. That was for an album we released called Live at The Ryman

After playing with Emmy for five years, I did 86 shows with Bela Fleck & The Flecktones in 1995 or 1996. After learning more about singing and getting back into improvising with the Flecktones, I was ready to making my own records and having a band again. 

That's incredible. So it was around 1995 or 1996 that Sam Bush Band got going?

Sam: Well, that's when I started making my own records and playing my own gigs again. I'm not sure when we officially had a full-time group. It was over 20 years ago. That's for sure. Chris Brown has been playing drums in the band for going on his 22nd year now. 

Wow. Those are some serious accolades already by 1996. Touring with the likes of Leon Russell, Bela Fleck, and winning a Grammy with Emmylou Harris. I'm sure there was no shortage of inspiration.

Sam: I also spent some time playing with Lyle Lovett around that time. When you play with Lyle, you wear a suit and tie. I know how to do that too (laughs). My big thing is that I love to play with others. Even within my own group, it is my job to back them when they're soloing. I love to play rhythm. To lead well, you must support well. I learned that from Emmylou, Lyle, and Leon over the years. 

I would imagine so. Well, let's talk a little more about the current state of the Sam Bush Band. Who's on the road with you these days?

Sam: Sure. In order of seniority, we have Chris Brown on drums. Next, we have Stephen Mougin on guitar and vocals. On bass, both acoustic and electric, is Todd Parks. Those guys have been around for a while. We also have Wes Corbett, who has been with the band for a few years, on banjo. Both Stephen and Wes, and me as well, many times will have switched instruments by the end of the show. We'll be playing electric instruments by the end of it. We have an electric side, as well as our bluegrass / newgrass side. 

It sounds like you guys have an ever-evolving show up on stage.

Sam: Oh yeah. I've never been about what kind of music it is, as much as "Are we enjoying it?"

That's the way to do it. How has the year of 2022 shaped up for you guys thus far? Has it been a pretty heavy year of touring and festival plays? Any time in the studio?

Sam: We've had a pretty good amount of work this year. Of course, we're still in a pandemic, and we're being as cautious as we can. We're all trying to make our way as clearly as possible. 2022 has been a good year so far. We've played quite a few festivals. Earlier in the summer, we had a tour called The Bluegrass Happening, which was Bela Fleck & My Bluegrass Heart, The Jerry Douglas Band, and Sam Bush Band.

The three groups banded together for a tour than spanned about 10 dates in the midwest. This was right after the Telluride Bluegrass Festival. It's good because we have a few weeks here in August to regroup a little bit. By the time we come to Montgomery, we're back in the saddle. It's just great to be out playing. We have a good amount of work in September and October. If all goes according to schedule, I'm supposed to be having a new album come out in November. I'm looking forward to that. 

It has to feel amazing to find that sense of normalcy again. We're obviously not out of the woods with COVID, but this year has certainly presented fewer challenges than the past two. 

Sam: Well, let's face it. I was born in 1952, so that's how old I am. I've been wondering if I should consider not traveling as much anymore. When 2020 hit, I learned what it was like to be retired, and I found I wasn't ready for that. I'm not close to ready to retire. If anything, I think all of us in the music business, whether we knew it or not, we needed a reboot. It's a unique situation that we have, and I think many of us needed that reminder. 

Totally agree with you there. It definitely puts things into perspective.

Sam: Absolutely.

Well, before we wrap this up, I wanted to get your thoughts on the current state of bluegrass. Guys like you, Bela Fleck and The McCourys have about as strong of a grasp on this scene as anyone. When you look across the bluegrass spectrum, you have the longstanding jam grass acts like Yonder Mountain String Band, Leftover Salmon, and Yonder Mountain String Band. Then you have the rising stars like Billy Strings and Sierra Hull. What are your thoughts on where bluegrass stands in 2022?

Sam: The current state of bluegrass is really healthy. You still have Del McCoury, for instance. Del is kind of 2nd generation bluegrass himself, but as a man who played with Bill Monroe and everything, if you want to hear true bluegrass, go see Del McCoury. As you mentioned, you also have The Travelin' McCourys, that don't just want to play what their dad does. They play what you consider to be more "new grass," right?

One of the great things that is happening in bluegrass, and acoustic music in general, is the emergence of more great, female artists. The first few that come to my mind are of course Sierra Hull and Molly Tuttle. You also have The First Ladies of Bluegrass, which is Becky Buller, Alison Brown, and Missy Raines. Sierra and Molly are really making their own way now.

When you speak of Billy Strings, he's really drawing big audiences, and that only helps the rest of us. Billy's out there doing his own this, and one that I really love about him is that he strives to improve all the time. Bluegrass is in good hands, and it's really good for the world of bluegrass and acoustic music that Billy is doing so well right now. It only helps the rest of us. 

I couldn't agree more. There is a very bright light on the bluegrass world right now. It's great to see so many younger acts making waves and putting their own spin on such an beautiful style of music. 

Sam: It really is. You know, when I was a kid, there just weren't as many youngsters coming up playing bluegrass. Now, it's reached a whole new level, where kids are excited about it. I think it only gets better as we go along.

Love to hear that from you, Sam. I really appreciate your time this morning. I think I can speak for everyone involved with Hog Days when I say we are stoked to have you coming to Montgomery. There's going to be some amazing BBQ there, and we can't wait to see what you and the band have planned. 

Sam: Thanks so much, Jordan. We're really excited to come play for y'all.

Deebs Days Countdown: An Interview with Alex Cape of Big Friendly Productions August 16, 2022 18:38

Photo via Big Friendly Productions

Interview by Jordan Kirkland: Live & Listen

As most music fans in and around the Birmingham area are already aware, CBDB and Big Friendly Productions have joined forces to bring an incredible new festival to Avondale Brewing Company this summer. Deebs Days Music Festival is pinned for Friday, August 19th and Saturday, August 20th in Birmingham (AL), and all signs point to an incredible celebration. If you haven't gotten around to purchasing your weekend passes, we've got you covered. Simply click the link below and secure your spot while you still can. 
As we've prepared for the festival, we've been catching up with various performers on the lineup. Being that we're now just a few days away from Deebs Days, we're switching things up and continuing the official "Deebs Days Countdown" with Alex Cape of Big Friendly Productions. Alex is the co-founder of Big Friendly, and if you're a music fan in Birmingham, you've most likely seen him in action. BFP officially took form in 2014 and has since developed into one of the most impressive event production companies in the Southeast.  
The concert experience is often focused on the performers playing the music on stage. Many fail to realize the hours of work which often begin as the sun is rising the morning of a show. The hardworking men and women building out the stage, audio, and lighting behind the scenes work harder than anyone to ensure that your show is executed flawlessly. Alex and Big Friendly Productions have worked tirelessly, even through a pandemic, to bring us all as much live music as possible. Check out the full interview below, and make sure to follow Big Friendly Productions on Facebook and Instagram for all of the latest updates.

Thanks for taking a few minutes to chat today, Alex. Let's start by talking a little history. How did you get started in the world of production, and what led you to start Big Friendly Productions and build it into the company it is today?

Alex: Well, I started the company in 2014. I was working at Zydeco for Layne (Flournoy), and I was finishing my two-year assistantship duties. I was trying to find a way to fit into the Birmingham music market. I had been running shows for Layne, and I'd seen that the production was a bit dated. There was definitely a need for someone to help out there without stepping on many toes.

I started by saving up a couple thousand dollars and buying a small setup that could work for a crowd of up to 250 people. That first year, all I did was weddings, tailgate parties for fraternities, and nothing much bigger than that. In year two, I doubled the rig and kept putting money back into it. In 2016, we bought our first line array PA system. In 2017, we bought our first video wall.

Then from there, we continued to grow. I put every penny that I could back into it until COVID hit. We had our share of COVID pivots, and fortunately, we landed here. I started managing bands in 2015, too. That's definitely a big part of our history. Winston Ramble was the first band that I started working with. We currently manage two acts, Winston Ramble and Trey Lewis. I played in a band in college. I ran all of our sound and booked most of our gigs. When Ramble asked me to work with them, I had that experience to build on. They were a really great band to get started with.

I couldn't agree more. They're such a great band. I know you have built on and provided production for just about every size show at this point. You've produced many of your own events. How did the idea for Deebs Days come about, and how did y'all ultimately bring it to life?

Alex: Deebs Days comes from wanting to produce our own festival. We've worked for a lot of really great promoters and some not-so-great promoters in the past. We wanted to take the experiences from those doing it the right way and avoid the pitfalls of what we've seen other promoters do in the past. The concept of us promoting our own shows was born out of COVID.

Promoters would book shows during COVID and cancel them a few days before for one reason or another. We decided that we'd put on shows with artists we believed in. We wanted to make decisions ourselves and put the artists and attendants first. A promoter is trying to make as much money in the middle as possible. We're in a unique position to not have to do that because we own our own production. We don't have to feed someone in the middle.

CBDB approached us about wanting to produce their own festival, and we told them we were looking to do the same thing. We decided after doing close to 100 shows together over the years, it would be a good fit to team up and try to produce our first festival.

Photo by Thomas Diasio 

It seems like a perfect fit to me. I know both Big Friendly and CBDB have plenty of history with Avondale Brewery. Tell me a little about the decision to bring this to Avondale and some of the unique things y'all have in store for the weekend. 

Alex: Avondale is definitely home base these days. The people at the top there really care about the concert experience, and everyone that works there feeds off that energy. They have welcomed us with open arms since 2019. In that time, we were helping with their local and regional shows. When COVID hit, we were some of the first in the country to start doing shows again. Our first one back was the "Live at Last" series with Winston Ramble & Little Raine Band in June 2020.

They were down to do safe, responsible shows. We couldn't afford to sit on the sidelines, but we also didn't want to be negligent. They came to us and proposed that we figure out a way to have safe, outdoor shows for ~500 socially distanced fans. We did that for a lot of COVID. They've always had our back and welcomed us.

They've been open to all of the crazy ideas we've had for Deebs Days. You want to bring in a second stage? No problem. You want to build a 40 foot castle? No problem. They're always down to be creative and do fun things.

I'm not surprised to hear that at all. It's got to be a huge plus to bring an event of this nature to a place where you have such strong relationships in place. 

Alex: For sure. Coming off of The World Games, where we produced two stages (and were paid in full for it), we're definitely feeling very fortunate to be doing what we love. We just want to make people happy, really. All of the work and effort is 100% worth it when people are enjoying themselves and making memories. That's what we do it for.

Amazing. Well before we wrap this up, I wanted to see what your thoughts were on the future of this event. CBDB announced this would be their last show before they go on hiatus. I know you wouldn't want to speak for them, but do you see this as something to build on for the future?

Alex: Well, it's definitely not going to be our last festival. It's very much open ended. I was definitely bummed to hear about CBDB going on hiatus. In any capacity that we do another Birmingham festival, CBDB will absolutely be welcome. Whether or not they will want to be a part of it as a host again, we shall see. I'd say everything is open-ended at this point, and we want to make sure this weekend goes smoothly before making any additional plans.

That sounds like the smartest way to look at it. I know I speak for a lot of people when I say "thank you" for all of the effort you guys have put in. It will all be worth it, and I'm looking forward to an amazing experience. 

Alex: Thanks so much, Jordan!

Widespread Panic Honors Michael Houser on Night One in Atlanta August 11, 2022 19:01

Words by Monica Dean

Photos by Craig Baird: Home Team Photography

“It’s our music”  It comes from us, I don’t know anything else to say but that.  We do it because it’s all we can do, pretty much”Michael Houser

Widespread Panic celebrated the life of Michael Houser last night at the Fox Theater in Atlanta, Georgia on the 20th anniversary of the founding guitarist's death from pancreatic cancer. Audio from Houser’s interview with Billy Bob Thornton on the film “Live at the Georgia Theatre” played before the band took the stage.  Balloons, traditionally staged overhead for New Years Eve, fell during the chorus of “Porch Song” to open the show.

After making sure everyone knew this celebration was about having a good time, John Bell, guitar/vocals, turned the key to start a  rowdy “Love Tractor”.  The crowd responded with an equally energetic few minutes of cheering and popping balloons.  Paul Hoffman, Lighting Designer, did a beautiful job bringing the lights down low for “Little Lilly”.  Jimmy Herring, guitarist, swam upstream in the dirtiest river for “Proving Ground.”  The first set came to a close with “Papa’s Home”.

“Mercy” opened up the second set for the first time ever.  Dave Schools, bassist, teased “In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida” at the end of “Mercy” before giving a little cough cough into Black Sabbath’s “Sweet Leaf”. The four Disco balls suspended from the Fox Theatre’s ceiling, usually to celebrate New Year’s Eve, were brilliantly lit for “Vacation”.  As Bell sang “As panic grabbed my legs, you know it, pulled me in” the impact of Houser’s music was felt by fans.  “Ain't Life Grand”, a Houser song about finding turning everyday life into something special, closed the second set.

The band returned for a three song encore with “Don't Want to Lose You”  For the first time since 2017, “Galleon” was played before “Fishwater” with mini drums to end a show of all Houser era songs.  As the band walked off stage, the audio track “Waiting for the Wind to Blow Down the Tree in My Back Yard”, a hidden track from the album, “Ain’t Life Grand”, played as a last, but not final, tribute to Houser.

Widespread Panic will finish a four night run at the Fox Theatre before heading out West to Napa, California on August 26.


Deebs Days Countdown: An Interview with Marcus White of The Shady Recruits August 3, 2022 14:18

Photo by Donna Winchester

Interview by Jordan Kirkland: Live & Listen

As most music fans in and around the Birmingham area are already aware, CBDB and Big Friendly Productions have joined forces to bring an incredible new festival to Avondale Brewing Company this summer. Deebs Days Music Festival is pinned for Friday, August 19th and Saturday, August 20th in Birmingham (AL), and all signs point to an incredible celebration. If you haven't gotten around to purchasing your weekend passes, we've got you covered. Simply click the link below and secure your spot while you still can. 
As we prepare for the festival, we're catching up with a handful of the performers on the lineup. This week, we're continuing the official "Deebs Days Countdown" with Marcus White, keyboard + synth wizard for The Shady Recruits. Marcus has an extensive history touring with bands such as Soul MechanicVoodoo Visionary, and KillaKeyz Band. This latest project features multiple members of The Marcus King Band and has quickly become a favorite amongst festivals across the country. 
You'll find The Shady Recruits performing at Avondale Brewing Company for Deebs Days in just over two weeks, and they certainly seem ready to leave their mark on Birmingham. Check out the full interview with Marcus below, and make sure to follow The Talismen on Facebook and Instagram for all of the latest updates.

Click Here: Purchase Your Deebs Days Tickets Today!

Great to speak with you for a few today, Marcus. We're here to talk about The Shady Recruits, but I know you've had quite the journey up to this point. Tell me about how you got started as a musician? 

Marcus: I started playing drums at church when I was nine. Then, around age twelve, I started playing guitar and keys too. This was still at church. My mom was playing piano at the time, and I thought I could do a better job. She said to give it a try, so I did. 

That's great man. And how did this ultimately lead you to your band mates in The Shady Recruits?

Marcus: I just kept playing and ended up winning a scholarship to a small school in Cleveland, TN. From there, I went on tour with a gospel group called EJM. When that was over, I moved back to Chattanooga and linked up with an up-and-coming band called Soul Mechanic.

This promoter in North Carolina named Ryan Williams, who we did gigs with previously, wanted us to do this show for him. We did that one and ended up getting a call to open up for The Marcus King Band. We became really good friends and the rest is history.

This seems is a super group, in a sense. Everyone involved has quite a few projects to balance, including multiple guys on tour with Marcus King Band. How do you go about scheduling for this band? How has the calendar shaped up so far this year? 

Marcus: Honestly, I have no idea. We really try to stick to planning out months in advance, communication, and being respectful of each others time. Like you said, half of the band is also on the road with Marcus King, so we have to plan accordingly. 

Just a few weeks ago, the Recruits released their first full-length album, Incognito. This follows your five-song EP, Shady, which released in March of 2020. Tell me about Incognito and how things have progressed since the first release  

Marcus: We are on tour right now. We had a great time at Peach Fest. The new album was produced by our good friend Marcus King. That has been huge in terms of building the audience. Super proud of the work we did on the album.

The Shady Recruits have grown accustomed to playing the major festival stages. One of the next up is Avondale Brewing Co. in Birmingham for CBDB's Deebs Days. Will this be the band's first play in Birmingham? What can those attending expect from you guys?

Marcus: Yeah man, this will be the band's first time in Birmingham, but certainly not my first. People can expect a lot of fun. It's gonna be a breath of fresh air. I think we bring something different and unique to this line up. We're known for having a lot of fun, and while we take each show very seriously, we don't take ourselves too seriously. 

Beyond this summer, how is the final quarter of 2022 looking for the band? What are you guys looking ahead to? Where is the focus as you guys look to the future?  

Marcus: The future is bright man. We're gonna start working on the next album. We're booking more gigs and traveling to new markets that we haven't played. Just trying to grow and keep this train moving.

Right on. Love to hear it. Thanks so much for your time today, Marcus. Look forward to seeing you in Birmingham in a few weeks.

Marcus: Can't wait man. Thank you!

Checking In With Runaway Gin's Andy Greenberg July 25, 2022 01:31

Photo by Cloud Bobby Productions

Interview by Jordan Kirkland: Live & Listen

The world's most active Phish tribute, Runaway Gin, has certainly proved they are worthy of that title in 2022. Over the past year, they have welcomed two new band members in Tim Khayat (bass) and Sean Bing (drums). One might think that could slow a band down by a step or two, but the Gin train hasn't missed a beat. Their Winter, Spring, and Summer tours have taken them from Jacksonville (FL) to New York City (NY) and just about everywhere in between.

Taking on the title of an official "tribute act" isn't a decision to take lightly. If you know anything about Phish, their wildly expansive catalog, the incredibly detailed compositions, and their focus on unique improvisation during every show, you know Runaway Gin has their hands full. Recreating what Trey, Mike, Page, and Fishman create on stage is a tall task (to say the least), yet Andy Greenberg and his bandmates continue to prove that they're more than up for the challenge.  

It wasn't long ago that Jennifer Reiser (keyboards) joined the band full time, and just as the group finding their new groove, they're introducing a brand new rhythm section. As Greenberg details in our conversation below, it's been an absolutely beautiful transition with Khayat and Bing in the mix. Just as the musical journey of Phish, Runaway Gin continues to evolve and push boundaries at every corner. 

Check out thew full interview with Andy below, and make sure to take note of RG's upcoming Fall Tour dates below. If you're anywhere near the Carolinas, you can still catch their Summer Tour closer at Bowstring Brewyard in Raleigh, NC on Thursday, July 28th. Whether you've seen a Gin show in the past or not, there are all kinds of exciting elements brewing as the band looks ahead to the second half of 2022!

You just reached the one year mark with the latest lineup of Runaway Gin. Tell me about how this year has gone? What have you taken away from this time with the lineup additions?
Andy: It's been a really good year! We have very patiently and organically developed into a much more cohesive unit. Every run, and even show now, we seem to turn a corner in our musical conversation. We have focused on different aspects of the project methodically - from setlist composition, segues, improvisational strategies, interpersonal communication, existential aspects of the experience, band bonding, travel strategies, to great band dining experiences.
We really have come a remarkably long way very quickly. I credit this to all of our collective experiences up to this point; converging and combining and us all being very open to communication of all kinds. I have been building bands since I was a teenager, and every time it seems to get a little bit easier. Organization and timing are so very important to all of this.
I have learned a lot about my bandmates during this last year, which I really cherish and love, and I've also learned a lot about music from every member. I have also learned a lot about myself. Specifically about building boundaries, patience, being present and letting go. I have faced many challenges and certainly handled some better than others, but I am committed to learning from every aspect of the experience.
With such a specific, complex catalog of songs with significant improvisational sections, what has the process been like when bringing in a new band member and getting them fully acquainted?
Andy: It isn't easy, but also it isn't hard! If you can figure out the key points and how to communicate them clearly and succinctly, your work pretty much all gets done for you. Each person learns music differently, and each person learns to develop improv differently.
The basic element is figure out how they learn; their speed and readiness in regards to each facet of the catalog. Figure out what someone likes and give them more of that. Figure out their strengths and showcase them. Figure out their weaknesses and address them methodically and rationally, while also hiding them.
Each member has been vastly different to bring in based on their musical background. I try and establish a give and take where no one feels like they are being ordered around but rather feels like they are being heard and responded to in kind. It's a very delicate middle ground to find but it seems to be where the magic occurs.
You've just released a lengthy fall tour which will take you to 14 different cities. What can the RG fan base expect from you guys at these upcoming shows?
Andy: We've got the new 'Makisupa Police, Man' concept in, which we will take material by the Police and Sting and basically twist it, mash it, jam it, and explore it in the context of a Phish show. Not all shows will have the concept, but most of them, starting on September 24th at the Charleston Pour House, will.
Keep in mind we will still be playing primary Phish material, and we don't know exactly what the setlists will look like. We will build it organically, like we have strived to so far in this configuration. I have a feeling we're going to be finding lots of interesting and novel spaces and challenging ourselves more than ever to be creative in the moment.
The Phish catalog is obviously ever evolving, with no shortage of new material surfacing each year. How often is the band adding new tunes to the catalog? What does this process look like for RG?
Andy: Phish is an extremely prolific band. They have constantly challenged themselves and each other from the beginning. We strive to do that too. For me, it's part of the tribute. Phish seems to add about 2-3 albums worth of material each year these days, and it is a lot to keep up even as a fan. As a band, we are not even attempting to keep up by adding songs as quickly as possible.
For us, we are trying to honor the spirit behind Phish but not follow directly behind them because we are not them. We have different strengths, weaknesses, and tastes so it doesn't really make sense to try to copy theirs over our own. In terms of adding songs, we are constantly working on new material. We just added 3 new songs last weekend: 'Foam', 'Knuckle Bone Broth Avenue', and 'Meat'.
We added another one too but we haven't actually played it live yet so I won't mention what it is. Each new song we add is adding a new dimension to our band.A new set of parameters, rhythms, and sonic landscapes to couple with the ones we have already explored collectively and individually.
That being the case it's good for us to take it a little slow and to let each song marinate and incubate and subsequently digest and become a part of us as a collective.I am really excited to see how each song colors us differently and greatly enjoy this process.
Even with a full-time job and touring with RG, you find the time to make it to a healthy dose of Phish shows each year. What are your general thoughts on the band here in the summer of 2022?
Andy: I actually just finished streaming Mann night 1 and mannnnn! I just love the way the setlists keep evolving. I love the risks they take and the smoothness of interplay. It's a completely different show than they played in 2013 and even more different from 1999 and so on and so forth. The band is pure fluid movement. The musical themes, the lyrical themes, the jam styles, the new songs, and sonic possibilities.
It's a tweaker's paradise and I am definitely a tweaker. It's impossible to even imagine anyone having as big of an influence on me musically than Phish has. While I love so many other bands, the essence of Phish just lights a spark in me that makes me feel like anything is possible. It sure is an amazing time to be a phan!
You've got that right. Well, thanks so much for your time today, Andy. It's always a pleasure, and I look forward to seeing you out there soon.
Andy: Likewise, my friend. Thank you Jordan!

Deebs Days Countdown: An Interview with Jack Bennett of The Talismen July 21, 2022 14:46

Photo by Craig Baird: Home Team Photography
Interview by Jordan Kirkland: Live & Listen
As most music fans in and around the Birmingham area are already aware, CBDB and Big Friendly Productions have joined forces to bring an incredible new festival to Avondale Brewing Company this summer. Deebs Days Music Festival is pinned for Friday, August 19th and Saturday, August 20th in Birmingham (AL), and all signs point to an incredible celebration. If you haven't gotten around to purchasing your weekend passes, we've got you covered. Simply click the link below and secure your spot while you still can. 
As we prepare for the festival, we're catching up with a handful of the performers on the lineup. This week, we're continuing the official "Deebs Days Countdown" with Jack Bennettlead guitarist of The Talismen. Since the band's formation in their teenage years, Bennett and his bandmates have continued to make major strides as a mainstay in their respective scene. They released their debut album, Jar Full of Something, in March of 2019. The album has since since gained 800,000+ plus stream on Spotify. Additional releases include the four-song EP, Extra Vehicular Activity, and a full length live album titled Live From The Bunker. Each has played a vital role in showcasing a variety of elements that these young jam wizards bring to the table. 
The band has seen a busy year thus far; building their audience all across the southeast. Many will recall previous festival plays at CukoRakko Music FestivalSliceFest, Woodlands Music Festival, and Mountain Music Festival. This list continues to grow, as they look ahead to The Big What? and Resonance Music & Arts Festival over the next few months. 
You'll find The Talismen performing at Birmingham's Avondale Brewing Company for Deebs Days in just a few weeks, and they couldn't be more excited about this play. Check out the full interview with Jack below, and make sure to follow The Talismen on Facebook and Instagram for all of the latest updates.

Great to sit down and chat today, Jack. I figured we could start by talking about your musical background. How did you get started as a musician? How did this ultimately lead you to your bandmates?

Jack: Let's see. It was pretty early on in grade school. I picked up drums first. I was playing a lot of punk rock stuff. A lot of Travis Barker stuff. I think that got a little too loud for my parents, so I ended up picking up guitar around 4th or 5th grade. I didn't ever learn any traditional scales or anything like that. I would bring songs to an instructor in the back of Capitol Music in Montgomery. This was mostly rock and punk rock stuff with signature riffs. 

It was around 9th grade that I became really close with our drummer, George Norrell. We really hit it off quick. We vibe with a lot of the same musical influences. I think the band started in 10th grade, when our keyboardist, Jack Wagstaff, moved from Birmingham to Montgomery. We all went on spring break that year, where we really connected with our bassist, Jack Anderson, who was two years ahead of us in school. We ended up forming The Talismen shortly after.

We started as 7-piece band; with our friends Jack Barganier on bass, Camp Spain on guitar, Jud Blount on guitar, and the four of us still playing today. Yes, there were originally four Jacks!

Jack Anderson was actually playing acoustic guitar and singing at the point. We started gigging around Montgomery, playing some local events, and setting a nice foundation by the time we finished high school. 

Fast forward to 2018, and we had evolved into a four-piece with Jack Anderson on bass and vocals. It was around then that we linked up our manager and focused our sights on more expansive gigging. It's really been onward and upward from there. 

That's a pretty unique story to have started the band so young. What have been some of the highlights for The Talismen since that pivotal time in 2018?

Jack: Oh man. Definitely JingleBall in Montgomery back in December 2019. We opened for a supergroup formed by Kevin Scott. They were performing Talking Heads' Stop Making Sense, and Jennifer Hartswick was also on the bill. She was kind enough to sit in with us. We closed out set with Janis Joplin's "Piece of My Heart," and she was just incredible.

We had our first real festival play that year as well. We played Umphrey's McGee's Woodlands Festival in Charleston. It's been great to connect with some amazing bands along the way. We've really enjoyed building relationships with groups like Big Something, CBDB, and Funk You.

We also recorded our first album at Technical Earth Recorders in Montgomery at the end of 2018. Robert Shimp was incredible to work with. It can a little intimidating getting into a recording studio for the first time, but he made the process so much fun. We're really grateful for him and the opportunity to record Jar Full of Something in our hometown. 

We later connected with our friend Kevin Scott, who was kind enough to get us into a private studio in Roswell. This was right after JingleBall in December of 2019. We recorded a four-song EP, Extra Vehicular Activity, with he and Jason Kingsland. That second experience gave us an even better idea of what we wanted to achieve. We still left and felt like we had a lot to learn, but it was such a valuable experience.

Kevin has a long history with guys like Col. Bruce Hampton, Jimmy Herring, and John McLaughlin...just to name a few. Jason has recorded and produced bands like Band of Horses, Perpetual Groove, and a bunch of others. We're just really grateful for that experience in studio with them.  

Click Here: Watch The Talismen with Jennifer Hartswick of Trey Anastasio Band

Photo by Craig Baird: Home Team Photography

I would imagine so. Where would you say the focus on recording and studio time has been since then? Y'all have been recording and producing some of your own material recently, correct?

Jack: That's right. We did end up releasing a live album during the pandemic though. Big Friendly Productions put on an amazing live stream series to help bands like us when touring wasn't an option. We were so happy with the recordings that we decided to pick a handful of our favorite tracks and release them as Live From The Bunker later on in 2020. 

But yes, I moved into a house a few years ago which allowed us to setup a really ideal rehearsal and recording space. We've since recorded and released two singles, "Savage Road" and "Lockwood," and we're just about done with what will be our third single of 2022. We'll have much more news on that one here soon.

Very cool. I know there will be plenty of fans excited to hear that news. Y'all have been hitting the road pretty hard here in 2022. What have been some of the highlights, and what has the band learned from life on the road?

Jack: We've learned a lot from touring. It seems to be picking up and getting better each year. Some of the highlights this year have been playing Mountain Music Festival in West Virginia. We played our first true theatre gig with Big Something at The Bijou in Knoxville. We did a three-night run with Papadosio back in April, and that was a big opportunity to get in front of their fans.

More recently, we did a Panic afterparty in Huntsville and a Phish pre-party in Gulf Shores on the same weekend. We even got to catch a few nights of the Phish that weekend, which was a big plus. We don't get to go out and see as many shows as we would like to these days. 

There is definitely a lot of work to be done off the road, but being on the road and seeing the progress we have made has instilled a lot of confidence in ourselves. This past year has really taught us a lot about what it takes to be successful in this industry. Networking with bands, selling merch, and making sure you don't run out of gas (laughs). It's easy to think that getting on stage and playing is the most important thing, but talking to your fans, networking, and building relationships is equally important. 

Photo by Nicholas McElroy: Nicholas Jude Photography

That's a fact. It's great to hear that you guys have made so much progression this year. What's on the horizon for the band? You guys have some big gigs coming up, right?

Jack: Absolutely. Several big festivals coming up. We're super excited to be playing Big Something's festival, The Big What?, in Virginia in a few weeks. Like I said earlier, we're big fans of that band, and we can't say enough nice things about them. Then we have CBDB's festival, Deebs Days, later in August. Those guys have been really good us over the years, and we really look up to them. That's also a big hometown show for us, now that we're all living in Birmingham. They put together an amazing lineup, and we are looking forward to meeting and seeing all of those bands perform. 

We head back to The Charleston Woodlands for Resonance Music & Arts Festival in mid-September. That's going to be a full circle moment, being at the same location as our first big festival play back in 2019. It's pretty humbling to be on the same lineup with bands like Goose, Umphrey's McGee, SunSquabi, Papadosio, Pigeons Playing Ping Pong, and so many more. The lineup is just stacked. 

I'd say there is plenty of excitement ahead for you guys. I'm glad that you mentioned Deebs Days. For those who might be attending the festival and catching their first Talismen show, what would you say that they can expect?

Jack: High-energy rock and roll with some crazy jams. Like most of our peer bands, we pride ourselves on playing a totally unique show every time we step on stage. We've been working hard and planning a few special surprises for this one. This will definitely be a Talismen set to remember. 

That's what I like to hear. Well before we wrap this up, where would say that the focus of the band will be from this point forward? What's in store for the future of The Talismen?

Jack: We're definitely focusing on more touring and writing, recording, and releasing new music. We really want to continue to connect and work with other bands around us. That has been really valuable for us, and building our network will only make us stronger. You can expect us to release a few more singles by the end of the year. We'll be looking to record another full-length album at some point in 2023. 

Right on. Well, I appreciate your time today, Jack. Look forward to seeing you guys play again at Deebs Days in just a few weeks.

Jack: We can't wait. Thank you Jordan!

Video by Nicholas Jude Photography

Photo by Craig Baird: Home Team Photography

Deebs Days Countdown: An Interview with The Mountain Grass Unit July 15, 2022 08:43

Interview by Jordan Kirkland: Live & Listen
As most music fans in and around the Birmingham area are already aware, CBDB and Big Friendly Productions have joined forces to bring an incredible new festival to Avondale Brewing Company this summer. Deebs Days Music Festival is pinned for Friday, August 19th and Saturday, August 20th in Birmingham (AL), and all signs point to an incredible celebration. If you haven't gotten around to purchasing your weekend passes, we've got you covered. Simply click the link below and secure your spot while you still can. 
As we prepare for the festival, we're catching up with a handful of the performers on the lineup. This week, we continue with a mighty hot young act known as The Mountain Grass Unit. I first learned of these guys when a video of Drury Anderson (vocals / mandolin) was featured on Jerry Garcia's official Instagram page as a young teenager. It wasn't long after that Drury, Luke Black (acoustic guitar), and Sam Wilson (upright bass) became a hot topic around Birmingham. Now that all three have finished high school, the concept of doing this full time is fast approaching. 
This summer has proven to be a vital time for the band. They're not only in the midst of their first real tour, but also preparing for their first, full-length album release. Places I've Been will released on all major streaming platforms on Monday, July 25th. If you're looking for a super helpful way to support the band, you can pre-order the album on iTunes as of Saturday, July 26th. This release marks their second time working in studio with Scott Vestal (banjo) of Sam Bush Band
You can catch The Mountain Grass Unit at Deebs Days over the weekend of August 19th-20th. Stay tuned for future details and much more to come on this festival. Check out the full conversation with Drury, Luke, and Sam of The MGU below!

Great to speak with you guys today. Let's start off with some general background info on the band. How did The Mountain Grass Unit get started in your early teenage years?

Drury: Well, Luke (Black) and I originally started playing fiddle tunes as kids. That went on for a while, and I think we tried more of an electric thing in 3rd or 4th grade. Luke picked up the electric guitar and getting into that. I was getting into the drums, and we tried that for a little while. Fast forward to 7th grade, and Sam (Wilson) comes up to me in gym class and says, "Uhh, hey man! I'm Sam. Luke asked me to be the bass player in y'all's rock band." 

Luke: Yeah, so we did that for a while. Sam got a bass from someone here in Birmingham.

Sam: Mr. Hurley let me borrow one. Luke taught me to play electric bass before that. I kind of taught myself how to play upright. I guess that was 8th or 9th grade?

Drury: I was in 7th grade, and y'all were in 8th grade. It was the next year that we started getting serious with bluegrass. Luke and I were both taking lessons from Allen Tolbert. Our first official gig was The Ted Talk. 

Sam: _TEDx__ Youth came through and did a thing at our middle school. They had us get up there and play three songs. I'd been playing upright for probably three days, at this point. If you search through the depths of YouTube, you can find a video of it. It's just terrible.

Luke: Yeah, it's pretty bad. It helped us start this group though. We actually had to sit down and practice for the gig. It was so bad. I was playing banjo without finger picks, which is just a crime in the bluegrass world. It definitely got us started though. After that gig, there was a little bit of buzz. We kept practicing and learning more songs. Then, we started adding Grateful Dead songs and other songs from our rock category. We were having a lot of fun.

So, would you say those lessons with Allen Tolbert really sent you guys down the bluegrass wormhole?

Luke: Yeah, for sure. Like Drury was saying earlier, I took banjo lessons from Herb Trotman around maybe 1st grade. He was taking mandolin lessons from Jason Bailey, so we had a little bit of the bluegrass drive. Then, I saw Allen Tolbert play at The Acoustic Cafe, and I said, "I want to play exactly like that." That's when the bluegrass drive started hitting me. Drury started taking lessons from him around that time as well. Allen definitely influenced us a ton. 

Drury: A ton. It was a cool time, because Allen is a little more traditional with bluegrass. While we were playing traditional bluegrass tunes, from guys like Tony Rice and David Grisman, we were also discovering people like Billy Strings. People who played those traditional tunes, but also got jammy with it...and played Dead. I've always loved The Dead. Luke and Sam have as well.

It was around that point that we realized "jam grass" was the way to go. That was really where it picked up. This was right around the time that The Talismen asked us to open up for them at WorkPlay Theatre. I think that was December of 2019. 

That's right. Crazy to think that was almost three years ago. There was also a gig with Sam Bush Band at WorkPlay, right?

Luke: Yeah, that one was really interesting. Drury and I had a marching band show that night. We played a pretty big role in this show. We had to go up to our band director and explain to him that we had an opportunity to open for Sam Bush, which was obviously a pretty big deal at this point. It was a bit of an ordeal, but he agreed to it. 

Drury: He let us do it, and then we pulled it again for a Billy Strings show (laughs). That was a really cool day though. 

Sam: It really was. We had only played a handful of gigs as a trio at that point. 

One of the guys from Sam's band ended up sitting in with y'all, right?

Drury: That's right. Scott Vestal is Sam's banjo player. 

Luke: We love Scott. He helped us record both our EP and our album coming out (on July 25th, 2022). We just ended up hanging out with him a bunch. He's such a nice guy.

Drury: He's super cool. When he's recording with us, it's all about us, which is really nice of him. When he picks up a banjo though, he will tear it apart. Scott is a monster player. 

I'd say that conversation with your marching band director ended up paying off quite well for y'all. 

Drury: Let's just say that I'll remember the Sam Bush show, and not the night I missed the marching band show (laughs). I think I can just put marching band behind me at that point. 

Sam: I remember thinking, "If y'all don't get out of this marching band show, I'm gonna lose my mind. We have to play this show!" (laughs

Photo by Thomas Diasio

You mentioned that things started picking up towards the end of 2019. Perfect timing for the events of 2020, right? I can imagine how challenging the COVID shutdown was, both as high school students and an up-and-coming band. How did y'all go about accepting this reality and putting your energy in the right place to keep things moving forward?

Drury: It was definitely unfortunate, because things were picking up in January of 2020. We had a regular spot over at Basil Pizza. Playing there a few times a month. The word is getting out around down. COVID hits and just screws it all completely. We had a few meetings and decided to just try and write, initially. 

We did have an opportunity to do a few live streams on The Music Never Stopped Facebook page. That actually made us some chump change, so that was a big plus. Steve Masterson helps us open up some opportunities for outdoor gigs. It all worked out though. Most of the songs on our upcoming album were written during that time in 2020.

I'm sure the opportunity to play those streams on that type of platform, with a pretty significant built-in audience, ended up being huge for exposure. Followers of that page are really the perfect target demographic. I'm sure a lot of people outside of Alabama are still following y'all because of those streams.

Drury: Absolutely. That's really the name of the game, man. Luke's been really hammering down on our social media. I've always tried to be pretty active on Instagram and YouTube. What's cool about this community is that there are a lot of people out there who are willing to sit down, watch your videos online, and provide solid feedback on what they like about it. 

Sam: It's been interesting as we've been traveling more this summer. We've had more gigs outside of Alabama. We were recently in Atlanta and Nashville. People would come up and mention that they watched us on those streams. It's pretty amazing to hear that and meet these people from all over. 

Those interactions really go a long way. So, y'all released your first EP last year. I know there is a new album on the horizon. What has it been like getting in the studio and bringing your songs to life?

Luke: It was really fun the first time, because it was our first studio experience. We were so dialed into these three songs of ours. I feel like we probably put too much thought into it all. 

Drury: That's exactly what I was going to say. 

Sam: We definitely did. 

Luke: This time at Scott's, we went in there and did them pretty raw. Only a few takes on a each track. I feel like it sounds more like us. 

Sam: I think it sounds more like our live show. 

Drury: It does sound more live. 

Luke: We've been working on some of these songs for 3-4 years. Some are a little newer, but many have been brewing for a long time. 

Drury: One of them was originally an instrumental called "Paradise," but we've since added vocals. So yeah, that one is probably about four years old now. 

Sam: It's pretty cool to look back at songs like that one. It's really changed and evolved into something new. 

Have the final touches been put on the album? When can people expect to see and hear the release?

Sam: We're done on our end. It will be released on July 25th.

Oh wow! I didn't realize that. Release day is right around the corner. 

Drury: Oh yeah. It's coming up, and it will be available for preorder on iTunes on July 16th. We ended up with 8 originals on this one. We're really going to be pushing the pre-orders. We'll take as many as we can get. 

Right on. I know this summer has been big for y'all. You're getting to hit a bunch of new cities and venues. What have you guys learned about life on the road thus far?

Drury: Well, we're really glad to be such good friends. That really helps things. It's been so fun. It kind of feels like we're just messing around and making some money. 

Sam: It doesn't even feel like a job, really. It feels like a vacation with some shows here and there. 

Luke: It's been a blast. We've had a few all-nighters already. We're learning how to handle those scenarios. Pulling out of one town at 3AM and pulling into the next one as the sun is rising.

I'm sure. These are some truly crucial times for y'all. You're laying a foundation and learning the ropes of running a professional, touring band. Sometimes those load outs are mighty late into the night, and the drive ahead can still be brutal.

Drury: For sure. We've been really fortunate to work with some really great venue owners and buyers. A lot of people who have been really good to us. Everyone has been super kind. 

Luke: Absolutely. It really means a lot to work with such great people. Hearing that someone has been waiting for so long to see us play. It honestly means a lot.

Drury: It really does, especially when you're playing in a totally new place. We've never been to some of these cities before. The kindness we've seen makes us feel like we fit in, and we're welcome there. 

I'm sure the positive feedback makes the world of difference. There may be lighter crowds on random nights, but when you are treated with such kindness, it really goes a long way.

Let's talk a little bit more about CBDB's upcoming festival at Avondale Brewery in August. Deebs Days is giving The Mountain Grass Unit a nice taste of the festival life early on. What are y'all's thoughts on being a part of this lineup?

Sam: Personally, I'm really excited to play alongside all of these other bands. Can't wait to see The Talismen again. It's been a year or so since our last show with them. Really excited to see those guys again. 

Drury: The entire lineup is just really exciting.

Luke: It's going to be really great to meet and hang out with the other performers. There are so many great bands playing. I can't wait to watch it all go down. 

Sam: I mention The Talismen, because they really helped us crack into the jam band world. They've had us open several shows and been really kind to us. We're excited to build more relationships like that. 

Drury: For sure. I credit them for getting us into the jam band scene. We haven't really been playing at festivals of this capacity yet. It's exciting to be on a lineup with guys like Daniel Donato, Sicard Hollow, and CBDB: people we've been watching on social media over the years. Those are musicians that we really look up to. It's great to see a progression of what we're able to do. I hope we can bring something really special and unique to the table. 

Absolutely. Every band that you've seen out there has been in this position. Breaking in to the festival circuit and having some big opportunities. Soak it all in, and of course do your thing on stage. I think it's safe to say there will be many more down the road.

Drury: It's going to be awesome. It's exciting to think about what could come out of this experience. I know we all hope to make some great connections and start some solid new relationships. Hopefully, this can lead to some other festival appearances. 

That's right. You guys are way ahead of the pack already. You're fresh out of high school, but you've already built a solid fan base. Y'all are building the band's resume, and doing so will continue to open all kinds of doors.

Drury: I really hope so. That's definitely the goal. It's great timing with the album coming out. We will have a month or so to get the word out. Just enough time to promote those tunes. 

Well before we wrap this up, I wanted to make sure that we've covered all of our bases. You guys have quite a few more summer dates. You have the album release and Deebs Days coming up. Anything else that the band is fired up about?

Drury: We're going to carry on our dates through the summer. Obviously, school is a little bit of a speed bump. I'll be joining Luke at Berklee in Boston, while Sam is in Tuscaloosa. Luke and I will be playing up there a bunch. We will continue to have band meetings to make sure things are on the right track. We'll have a bunch of zoom calls. We plan to have some gigs booked for when we're all back in Birmingham over the holidays too. 

That's the right attitude. Just keep doing what you're doing. This band has a lot of people's attention already. It sure feels like you guys are on the fast track to doing some really special things. You guys know how unique of a thing this is. Set goals, communicate, and stay the course. There's no telling how far you guys can take The Mountain Grass Unit. 

Drury: We really appreciate that, Jordan. We are just taking it one step at a time. Figuring out what is the next best move for us. I'm hoping that we can just capitalize on the progress we've made and keep the momentum going. If we can do that, I’m confident that it can really go somewhere. We just have to keep putting the work in. 

Photos by Jean Longuil Frank

Deebs Days Countdown: An Interview with Daniel Donato July 6, 2022 15:58


Photo by Annelise Loughead

Interview by Jordan Kirkland: Live & Listen

As most music fans in and around the Birmingham area are already aware, CBDB and Big Friendly Productions have joined forces to bring an incredible new festival to Avondale Brewing Company this summer. Deebs Days Music Festival is pinned for Friday, August 19th and Saturday, August 20th in Birmingham (AL), and all signs point to an incredible celebration. If you haven't gotten around to purchasing your weekend passes, we've got you covered. Simply click the link below and secure your spot while you still can. 
As we prepare for the festival, we're catching up with a handful of the performers on the lineup. This week, we're continuing the official "Deebs Days Countdown" with rising "Cosmic Country" star Daniel Donato. This guy has seen a tremendous amount of success over the past few years, and as soon as you hear his incredibly unique sound, you'll know why. Donato began his career as a teenager cutting his teeth at the famous Robert's Western World in Nashville, and he's done nothing but climb the ranks since then. 
Fresh off of a huge weekend at The Peach Festival, which included guest appearances with Pigeons Playing Ping Pong, Kitchen Dwellers, and Eggy, Donato is on pace to carry this tremendous momentum across his summer tour. Many may have seen his debut performance at Bonnaroo Music & Arts Festival last month (see pro-shot video below), and you certainly will not want to miss his set at Deebs Days at Avondale Brewing Company in Birmingham. Check out the interview below, and make sure to follow Daniel Donato on Facebook and Instagram for all of the latest updates.


Great to speak with you today, Daniel. You’ve been grinding your way through the Nashville music scene since your teenage years. Tell me a little bit about how this journey began for you. 
Daniel: I started busking at 14, and then I discovered the Don Kelley Band at Robert’s Western World. I saw them every weekend for 3 years, and then got in the band. I played 464 shows with them; 4 hours a day, 4 days a week.
Was there a particular moment when you really felt that things began to take off? When did you realize that this could be a full-time career? 
Daniel:  Just as a tree grows, it is an organic and incremental process; the emergence of a form born from passion and nature takes time. The first time I ever played on stage, my intuition urged me to dedicate my life to this craft. 
You seem to have coined the phrase "cosmic country" when it comes to your sound. Tell me about this concept and where it came from. 
Daniel:  It’s a Yin and Yang concept. Cosmic is explorative and danceable. Country is enchanting and classic. These are the things we all love and seek within music. A homeless wiseman who used to hang out behind Robert’s called my sound “Cosmic Country,” and I simply loved it. It’s a whole philosophy towards existence, not just music, but then again, what’s the difference between those two?
You released a series of singles leading up to your debut EP, Starlight, back in 2019. You've since released two full length albums, A Young Man's Country (2020) and Cosmic Country & Western Sounds (2021). What stands out the most when looking back on these experiences, both in your writing and recording process?
Daniel: How much I’ve grown and emerged since these recordings’ release is a wonder to behold. I can’t wait for the next record.
While Nashville's always been such a special place for "country music," there really seems to be a bit of a revolution underway these past few years. What are your thoughts on the current state of affairs? 
Daniel: Magic happens in pockets of time and tight knit geographic places. Everyone who is selling out amphitheaters and arenas in my scene, I have at one point seen play for $5 to no one on a Tuesday night. Patience, persistence and positivity lead the way down this no simple highway.
You'll be bringing your signature "cosmic country" sound to Deebs Days Music Festival in Birmingham on August 19th-20th. What can those in attendance expect from you and the band?
Daniel: Cosmic Country delivers a celebratory experience through exploration of modern and traditional genres with danceable rhythms, enchanting Melodies, and inclusive songs.
Before we wrap this up, I wanted to see if you could touch on some 2022 highlights. Looking back, what have been some of the high points thus far? What's on the horizon that has you and the band fired up?
Daniel:  Headlining close to 100 shows so far, touring with the Kitchen Dwellers, playing Bonnaroo and chilling with Billy Strings, playing with damn near everyone at Peach Fest — all of these lead into one source — our connection with the music and the fans. This is all that matters when it is all said and done.

Sicard Hollow Independently Releases New Single "Mighty Fine Day" June 30, 2022 11:47

Photos by Kendall McCargo Photography

Press Release via Sicard Hollow

Sicard Hollow Independently Releases New Single “Mighty Fine Day” June 30th, 2022

NASHVILLE, TN – Sicard Hollow is a four-piece progressive bluegrass band who formed with a mutual passion for pushing the boundaries of genre. Heavily influenced by the Grateful Dead and New Grass Revival, these young pickers bring new energy to a timeless style with a combination of fearless improvisation and instrumental prowess.

The band formed through mutual connections within the Nashville music scene who all wanted to play something different. They were all simultaneously discovering bluegrass while existing in their other scenes. Once they got together, the rest was history.

Having toured extensively around the country since 2018, this group of players continues to grow their sound with every performance. With the release of their debut studio album, ‘Secret of the Breeze’ (2020), a live album called ‘Live at Brooklyn Bowl Nashville’ (2021), and their upcoming sophomore studio effort, there is no slowing down for Sicard Hollow.

After the band finished recording their upcoming studio album, ‘Brightest of Days,’ they were frustrated to find out how long the post-production and marketing process was going to take and how long it would be before their fans could hear what they’ve been working on. After about a week of decompressing from a long week in the studio, “We wanted to head back in,” says Alex King, vocalist and guitar player for the band.

The result was three road-tested, crowd favorites finally getting the studio intention they deserved. The band opted for releasing them as singles over grouping them together on an EP in an effort to let the songs tell three separate stories before they’re grouped into a single project. Cover artist, Brandon Trammel, also tried to illustrate this idea by creating a separate image for each single that will eventually make up a triptych once all three singles are released.

The band released the first single, “Little Miss Tipsy,” at the beginning of June as they hit the road for their summer tour. “It’s a phat festival banger,” says Parrish Gabriel, bassist. The release was accompanied by a beer from New Heights Brewing Company (Nashville, TN) called, “Little Miss Tipsy,” which can still be found in liquor stores all over the Greater Nashville area.

Today the band released the next tune, “Mighty Fine Day,” which is a fun, upbeat, summer-time river anthem about getting all your buds together on anything you can find that floats and hitting the water. The band appropriately releases the lazy-river-themed jam in time for their return to The Peach Music Festival, which takes place at Montage Mountain Waterpark & Ski Resort in Scranton, PA on Sunday July 3rd, 2022.page2image8690624 page2image8685248 page2image8688896 page2image8695424 page2image8691200

“Mighty Fine Day'' is Available now on all major streaming platforms.

Alex King (Vocals/Guitar), Will Herrin (Vocals/Mandolin), Matt Rennick (Violin), Parrish Gabriel (Bass), Daniel Davis (Engineer), Evan Wilbur (Mastering), Brandon Trammel (Artwork), and Tim Coughlin (Executive Producer).

Recorded at The Studio Nashville in Nashville, TN.

Who Is Danger Wolf? Whit Murray & Stephen Taylor Discuss Latest Project June 28, 2022 00:24

Photo by Rebecca Adler Photography

Interview by Jordan Kirkland: Live & Listen

March of 2020 will forever be a time that evokes a wide range of emotions. Just as we all began to understand what was happening around the world, it all shut down in what felt like the blink of an eye. While the earliest stages of the COVID-19 era brought about so many trials and tribulations, it also served as an opportunity for many to press pause and focus their creative energy on in a different direction. 

Nashville-based musicians Whit Murray and Stephen Taylor are a perfect example. Long time friends from their days in Athens (GA), the two guitarists shared a mutual interest in writing music together, but the stars hadn't ever aligned just right. As you will read in the conversation below, the COVID shutdown paved the way for Whit and Stephen to do just that. 

The result is an exciting new project known as Danger Wolf. Fresh off the release of their debut, self-titled album, these two are riding high and already well on their way to a sophomore release. I had a chance to sit down with Whit and Stephen last week and hear the full story. After having the weekend to stream these tunes a handful of times, I can totally understand the excitement they both share. 

Danger Wolf features Whit and Stephen backed by a stellar cast of their peer musicians and former bandmates from past projects. You'll find multiple members of Moon Taxi, as well as long time collaborators from Los Colognes and Mama's Love rounding out these tracks. Check out the full conversation below and make sure to follow Danger Wolf on Facebook and Instagram for all of the latest news. 

Danger Wolf is a brand new project for both of you guys. I know that both of you have extensive histories in the music industry. Let's kick this off with a little background info on the two of y'all. 

Whit: I grew up playing in bands in Raleigh, NC and ended up in Athens, GA after college. That was a really special time to be there, because there were so many bands forming out of UGA. After Athens, I moved up to Boston and attended Berklee College of Music for 3 years. From there, I knew I wanted to settle back in the south, and Nashville seemed to be the perfect fit. In 2014, I reunited with Tom Galloway from the Mama’s Love days in Athens to form Maradeen, and we toured extensively 'til right before the pandemic. I’ve also been playing with a group of Chicago natives that are based here in Nashville (Los Colognes) since 2018. 

Stephen & I first met in Athens, GA when I was playing in Mama’s Love, and he was with Eddie & the Public Speakers. I want to say we were playing a show together at Tasty World in 2009(?), and then reconnected when we both moved to Nashville in 2014. We’re super fortunate that most of our friends here are all badass musicians. You almost forget until you’re all hanging out, look around the room, and realize that everyone there plays an instrument and most likely, we all met back in Athens in 2009. 

Stephen: I’m originally from Columbia, SC and when it was time to go to college, the music scene in Athens, GA was calling, so I headed to UGA and really immersed myself in the rock scene there. So much incredible music has come out of that town. I think that’s where I learned how to play in a band and write songs with people.  

Nashville was always the next step in my mind. Amazing music scene, and so much opportunity to find your place in the industry. I worked in the agency world for a while and then had a stint on the road working behind the scenes with bands like Snarky Puppy and Little Big Town. Eventually, I found my place working for Fender Guitars, which I still do today. I really couldn’t be more fortunate. I get to play in bands with some of my best pals (Drew Dixon, Tom Galloway, and now Danger Wolf) and work in the industry that I love. Life is good.

When did the idea for Danger Wolf come about, and what's the overall concept behind what y'all are looking to accomplish here?

Stephen: Whit and I quickly established ourselves as quarantine buddies in 2020.  We’d get together and hang on Friday nights, play cards and grill out. Eventually, we picked up a few guitars over at my place, and Whit had the riff to “Who’s to Blame”It was so rockin’. I think we wrote that one in a few hours and knocked out a demo.  We were just like, “Man, this is pretty great! Let’s write another one next week," and here we are.  So, in a lot of ways, this thing is a product of sheer boredom. Once we had a batch of songs and were talking about recording them, I think our intention was nothing more than to make a good record with our friends and have a lot of fun doing it. It’s pretty pure in that sense, and I know we both aim to keep it that way.

Whit: The styles of the songs are all very different, but the lyrics can’t help but convey a sense of restlessness from being shut off from the world like everyone was at the time. Once we had the first one finished, we thought, “All right, now we’ve got a 90’s sounding song. We should write an 80’s pop hit,” ("Less is More") or “now we need a swampy rocker” ("Nobody Home"). "We Make a Pretty Good Team" was the last one we wrote, because we knew we needed to have one feel-good, ballad-esque song on there. We were really happy that the entire EP had a really solid flow from start to finish. 

Photo by Rebecca Adler Photography

What can you share about these songs and what they mean to both of you?

Whit: It really captures the best of that era to me, where we both had so much free time. We might as well create something out of it. The notion of writing songs and playing music with your friends just for the sake of doing it, with no expectations or pressure attached, is what attracted all of us in the first place. It's probably why we’re all still trying to outdo what we’ve done previously. 

Stephen: It’s a thrill to put out original music. To make something that you’re proud of. That’s where it all starts for me. Whit and I have been friends for years, but this is the first time we’ve really played music together. I think we came into this thing with a great mutual respect for what each other brings to the table. As the songs developed, our strengths as individuals really became apparent. We would lean on them for certain things and get out of the way when needed. Also, both being lead guitar players, we had a lot of options under our fingers and were able to dip into some of those great Allman Brothers/Eagles-esqiw moments. It was lots of fun.  

This EP features a pretty killer cast of your peer Nashville musicians. Tell me about who we will hear as we listen through each tune?

Whit: The foundation for what became our sound is Tyler Ritter (Moon Taxi) & Gordon (Gordo) Persha (Los Colognes) playing off of each other. When we were rehearsing, and those two were playing the riff to “Who’s to Blame,” we all stood there in awe for a minute. We knew that this was going to be good. You’re only as strong as your rhythm section, and both of those guys are monsters with their instruments.

We were also super lucky to have Wes Bailey (Moon Taxi) playing with us who’s one of the best keyboardists in the game. He has the chops to be flashy, but is much more committed to serving the songs. We really wanted to write concise songs that had some solos but rocked just as hard without them. 

Big notable mentions are Amber Woodhouse who sang BGV’s and played saxophone on “We Make a Pretty Good Team.” She really brought that song to another level. Plus we had Tom Galloway (Mama's Love) and Dan Davis singing harmonies, and Ben Torbert (Mama’s Love) playing percussion. Lastly, we bought a 12-pack of beer and had our buddies Mills Waterhouse and Hank Bateman come in and add gang vocals to all of the choruses to really make them sound big. It such a blast. 

You had the opportunity to record at The Studio Nashville with producer Tom Tapley.  How did you link up with Tom, and what all did he bring to the table? Tell me about this studio, the recording process, and how valuable Tom’s expertise was to this EP. 

WhitTom’s actually a big reason this whole thing came together. He did the first Mama’s Love EP back in 2009, and we were dying to work with him again. Then last year in April 2021, we went down to Atlanta and spent a week recording with him at his place, West End Studios. Tom’s like the cool older brother who’s holding down the house while your parents are out of town. He’s probably the nicest, most fun, and positive person I’ve ever met. He really elevates you to play things you didn’t know you were capable of. Not to mention, a really hard worker and an absolute master of studio tricks and sounds. 

Stephen: Tom is such a vibe. He’s the biggest cheerleader in the room. When things are happening, he knows how to pull the best out of the moment. And when they’re not, he gets you right back on track. We wanted this thing to sound like a big rock record. Live and rowdy. We couldn’t have asked for a better guy to be at the helm. 

And I see Dan Davis engineered the record. This is a name I continue to hear, as so many amazing musicians are working with him. How did you link up with Dan?

Whit: Dan was a huge secret weapon on this project. He grew up singing harmonies with his brothers, and he is a master at knowing how songs are crafted, especially vocal phrasing. It seems like he’s worked on or currently working with all of our friends in the rock scene in Nashville. 

Put him and Tom together, you know that you’re going to have a ball and that these two are going to get you to your destination safely. You know that you’ll be a better musician after the experience. 

Stephen: Yeah, Dan is the man. He worked on all the Tom Galloway records with us. He has such a great ear and is a blast in the studio. Not to mention, he sings his ass off. It’s pretty awesome when your engineer can jump in on harmony vocals to bring it all together. 

Release day is always super exciting, especially when it involves the debut of a new project. Where does Dangerwolf go from here?

Stephen: It was too much fun making the first one. We’d be silly not to record a follow-up. We already have 5 or 6 tunes started. I’m sure we’ll continue to write until we land on a batch that feels like a cohesive project. Then it’s time to do it again, “Nothin’ to it, but to do it”, as my Dad says. 

Whit: Put this out, play an album release, and get back into the factory to write the next one. We would love to bring this group back together in 2023 for another round.

Stream Danger Wolf's Debut, Self-Titled Album Here:

Deebs Days Countdown: An Interview with Alex King of Sicard Hollow June 17, 2022 22:30

Photos by Kendall McCargo Photography

Interview by Jordan Kirkland: Live & Listen

As most music fans in and around the Birmingham area are already aware, CBDB and Big Friendly Productions have joined forces to bring an incredible new festival to Avondale Brewing Company this summer. Deebs Days Music Festival is pinned for Friday, August 19th and Saturday, August 20th in Birmingham (AL), and all signs point to an incredible celebration. If you haven't gotten around to purchasing your weekend passes, we've got you covered. Simply click the link below and secure your spot while you still can. 
As we prepare for the festival, we're catching up with a handful of the performers on the lineup. This week, we're continuing the official "Deebs Days Countdown" with Sicard Hollow frontman Alex King. Since the formation of the Nashville-based, jam-grass quartet in 2018, King and his bandmates have quickly established themself as one of the premier rising acts in the country. Sicard released its debut album just before the pandemic struck in 2020, and they have wasted no time climbing through the ranks of the "festival scene." The band has built a strong national following in just a short time, and there is clearly so much more to come. 
Many will recall Sicard Hollow from recent  performances at Resonance Music & Arts Festival, The Peach Festival, and Summer Camp Music Festival. They're no strangers to the big stage, and as King explains below, they couldn't be more fired up for Deebs Days. Check out the full interview below, and make sure to follow Sicard Hollow on Facebook and Instagram for all of the latest updates.
Great to speak with you for a few today, Alex. From what I understand, Sicard Hollow got started back in 2018?
Alex: Yeah man. I want to say May of 2018. 
Right on. So, you guys have just passed the four-year mark. Before we dive into the band, I was hoping you could tell me a little bit about your musical background and how you found yourself in the world of bluegrass music. 
Alex: It's an interesting story all around, because I wasn't raised on bluegrass at all. Neither was anyone in the band, for that matter. So, I'm from Birmingham, and I started playing guitar as a teenager. My parents bought me my first guitar when I was 14 or 15. I was taking lessons, but it wasn't anything serious. I never pursued it past playing a couple of chords. It just wasn't my thing. Skateboarding was my thing.
So, fast forward to college. I went to Auburn University. Took a little bit of time off after my first year, and I found myself at Belmont University in Nashville. I was surrounded by a ton of amazing musicians, none of which played bluegrass. I didn't even know what bluegrass was at all, really. I knew what a banjo was, but I did not know the genre whatsoever. I had a guitar, and I started playing a little with people around Belmont. This was a little discouraging. These kids were freaks of nature on their instruments. It was super inspiring at the same time, because I saw what my peers were capable of. 
I decided to step it up and start picking. I'm playing electric guitar, and I meet our mandolin player, Will Herrin. At the time, he had never played a mandolin in his entire life. He played electric guitar, and he tried to get me to jam over and over and over again. I was just too nervous to go do it. Eventually, we jammed and started hanging out a bit. I was writing songs on acoustic guitar in my free time. I wouldn't sing or play in front of anyone. 
We ended up meeting Matt Rennick, who is our fiddle player. He was just incredible on the fiddle. We fit our genre around his instrument, because he was the best. I had these slower songs, and he could play fiddle really fast and intricately on them. The next thing we needed was a mandolin, so Will said "Screw it" and started learning mandolin. 
Sicard Hollow was really born out of that. Trying to throw shit at the wall, for lack of a better term. We just ended up sticking with bluegrass. We all started to figure it out. Now, I've studied and gone down the hole with traditional, new grass, jam grass, and all of the above. Now I consider it a part of my soul, honestly. 
You're right. That's a really interesting, and super cool, story. So this is back in 2018, and y'all are in Nashville. When did y'all really start to realize that this was something y'all could take on the road professionally?
Alex: At first, I didn't really want it to be that. It wasn't Sicard Hollow. It was four guys. We had an upright bass player who was Will's next-door neighbor. I had no intention of it being a touring band. I was scared, and I didn't really want this. It found me, and it's such a non-traditional Nashville story. I moved here to figure something out, and it wasn't music. 
Our first show was pretty unique. Our friend Andrew Manes, and our now manager, Tim Coughlin, were hosting an event at a local outdoor venue. They were streaming a Phish show, and he wanted us to "open" the show with a three-hour set. I'm just like, "Holy shit! We have to play for three hours, and we have maybe four originals." (laughs).
We end up having over 100 people at our first show. Whether they were there to watch Phish or see us play, we played for three hours to over 100 people. Off the get go, I think we had that boost of confidence from a really positive crowd response. It was really encouraging to get that type of feedback on the first gig. 
We kept on progressing in town. Then we'd drive an hour or so outside of town, and once again I'm just like, "Holy shit! We're getting paid to go play out of town, and we're not losing money." This is our fifth or sixth show at this point. We had this push early on, and I think it really kicked everyone in the ass a little. If this door is going to open up a little, let's kick it down and run with it as far as we can. 
I think that mentality has really been the driving force. Now we're working with an agency. We're playing a bunch of festivals and touring all over the country. It's so crazy to think how much it has escalated over the past four years. It was so reassuring from the get go, which I don't think is the case for most bands. I really want to add that I'm incredibly grateful for our trajectory, and how it's been going thus far. 
That's so cool. I'm glad you mentioned that, because I've been familiar with the band's name for a few years. I started Live & Listen in 2014, so I stay pretty in tune with what's happening in this particular music scene. I've known that you guys were a bluegrass band out of Nashville, but it did seem like you guys really came on super strong. It makes sense to hear you explain the backstory. I'm sure those Phish fans came out in the right mindset to see some killer music that night. 
Alex: Right. And not being possessive about it, but Phish is my band (laughs). They saved my life, honestly. I started touring Phish when I was 20 years old, and I really started pouring all of my energy into that. Through Phish, I found my own musical passion. To have our first show being the "opener" on a big Phish streaming party - it was perfect. The stars aligned. It was such a reassuring experience. 
Really love hearing that. I definitely share the passion when it comes to Phish. I always speak up when I hear people acting like they have to "pick" a jam band to love though. Phish is my #1, but I also go see Widespread Panic, moe., String Cheese, and so many others as often as I can. 
Alex: Absolutely. I'm no stranger to any of them. I've got my hands in a lot of baskets as far as jam bands go. That's for sure. 
Alright, so the band gets going in 2018 with some really solid momentum from day one. When did you start to see that the band was taking off and expanding into new markets?
Alex: That's a good question. We played this festival called Bluegrass In The Bottoms in Kansas City. It was about a nine hour drive out there. Jeff Austin Band, Railroad Earth, Trampled by Turtles, Lindsay Lou, and so many major bands were on the lineup. I knew about these bands back then, but it's even crazier now to look back and think on it. I really didn't know what I was doing back then. I still don't know what I'm doing now. This is all sink or swim. Walk the plank. Jump in. See how long you can tread water for. It was super intimidating going there. 
I'll mention this. I remember getting there, and there was a band called Kind Country. Rest in peace to Max Graham. Rest in peace to Jeff Austin, too. Max Graham was so hands on with us. He was so nice to us. We're in the green room, and there were all these killer musicians back there. I'm just keeping my tail between my legs. I wasn't going to talk to anyone. 
Max really made us feel like we belonged though. Then we finally got to play a set of our music to a bluegrass crowd. Not a jam band crowd or a Nashville crowd, but these people were there to see bluegrass. The response was incredible. All of these out-of-town people coming up and asking us where we're from. Trying to link us up with new bands and venues across the country. 
This was our first bluegrass festival. And as far as I know, a lot of these other bands have been doing this for a little bit longer than we have. It was really a crazy turning point for me. That festival put a lot of things into perspective for me. It also showed us what we needed to work on. That was Bluegrass in the Bottoms. I think it was three years ago. 
Makes a lot of sense, man. Parrish Gabriel is y'all's bassist right?
Alex: He is indeed!
I thought so. I've hosted this event in Montgomery called Funksgiving over the years. Back in 2017, Parrish's old band Soul Mechanic played the event. I just recently realized he was Sicard Hollow's bassist. He's an absolute monster on the bass. 
Alex: He is NASTY!
He really is. At what point did y'all link up?
Alex: Alright. I don't want to go on too long of a rant here, but I'll give you a quick run down of who has played bass for us and led us to Parrish. Chris Hancock was our first bassist. We were jamming at Will's house, and he walks over from next door with a massive upright bass above his head like a Tuscan Raider in Star Wars. He's probably late 30s, early 40s. He's a handyman, and he ends up getting in a circular saw accident. His glove got sucked into the saw. He sends us a picture of his thumb literally dangling. 
So, we go bass-less for a little bit. Then, we picked up our buddy Trevor Clark. Shoutout to Trevor. He's an incredible musician. He really put us on to bluegrass when we moved into town. Trevor filled in for a bit, but he has his own career. He ultimately needed to focus his time and commitment on his own endeavors.
So, we're back to bass-less. Matt (Rennick) is like, "I know this guy named Parrish." And my first question is, "Is he cool? is he the dude?" Matt assures me that he's the guy. So, Matt calls him up and asks if he has an upright bass. I think Parrish pulled one out of storage, and he was down immediately. He came over, and we must have jammed for six hours. 
At this point, I've never heard him play an electric bass. I've only heard him on upright. He's obviously the homie. He's my brother. Immediately, when we started talking, I told him he was my soul brother, and I had his back for life. He was totally down and wanted the gig. Then a little later, I hear him plug in and play an electric bass. I had to sit him down and tell him that I would feel bad taking him away from that, if that's what he wanted to do. 
I haven't seen someone slap a bass like that, first hand, maybe ever. It was an interesting thing. We didn't want to take him away from what he loved to do, but he really found a home in Sicard Hollow. He still gets to flex his slap chops in his side project, KillaKeyz. 
That's right! I forgot he was a part of that band with Marcus (White).
Alex: Yep. KillaKeyz is great. He still gets to do a lot of that. Since day one, Parrish has just been down to play. We're very blessed and grateful to include him in the Sicard Hollow family.
That's so great. I guess it's just been in the past year or so that I became aware that Parrish was Sicard's bassist. It's really been that same period of time that I've gotten more familiar with the band, and this is a great segue into talking about y'all's original catalog.
I was on the road yesterday, and I decided to throw on Sicard Hollow in the car. I listened to the new single, "Little Miss Tipsy," for the first time. Holy shit! I can't get enough of this song. I must have streamed it 15 times by the end of the day.  
Alex: Let's gooo!
That song is fucking great, man. From the opening notes, it just has such a fun, upbeat vibe to it. The lyrics are fantastic. 
Alex: Man, that means so much!
With the way Spotify works, I just moved right along into the Live From Brooklyn Bowl album. I was in the car most of the day, and I ended up listening to Sicard the entire time. While there is a lot of jam grass that I really enjoy, I don't necessarily listen to it super often. I'm really excited about digging deeper in the catalog, and ultimately, seeing y'all's live show.
Alex: It's funny you mention that song. I'm literally about three feet from the water at the Harpeth River right now. This is where I wrote that song. I spend a lot of time here drinking my coffee and writing music. The first line in that song, "Let's walk down to the water / It's how I spend my time," that's what I do literally every day. I'm a river rat to my core. 
It's funny you bring that up, because I'm sitting here staring at the Harpeth. That just kind of took me back to when I started writing that tune. I'd just go down to the river. Take out my guitar. Maybe crack a beer, or not. I drink my coffee down here too. I just start singing random shit. If something pops in my head, I'll just go with it. 
I take out my phone and turn on the recorder. If you go through the voice memos on my phone, there are just hundreds and hundreds. A bunch of them are just jibberish trash, but you find some diamonds in there occasionally. When I started writing "Little Miss Tipsy," it was from my perspective, at first. The more I thought about it, it really wasn't me. It was more like a girl that I know from a festival. 
The song kind of wrote itself after that point. That's kind of my writing process. I like to be a vessel to it. I can't really force anything, but when it's flowing, grab it and run with it. Or let it take you wherever it's going to. "Little Miss Tipsy" was one of those where the words were just rolling off my tongue. 
Listen to "Little Miss Tipsy" here:
It's one of those songs that sucks you in right away. A lot of relatable stuff in there. You nailed it with that one. It was just released a few weeks ago, right?
Alex: Man, I really appreciate that. Yes, it did. I wrote it while ago. We have a new album coming out later in the year, and contrary to what people believe, "Little Miss Tipsy" will not be on it. We have so much material that we need to record. We decided to go back in the studio and cut a few more tracks that won't be in the album, so there is something to keep people on the edge of the seat until the album release.
Speaking of your original music, let's touch on that a little more. Your first album Secret of the Breeze was released in March of 2020. Right before the pandemic hit. You followed that with Live at Brooklyn Bowl Nashville. Tell me a little about these albums. You've been working with Dan Davis in the studio, correct?
Alex: That's right. Everything except the live album. Our friend Hank mixed that one. For the first album, Dan was our original banjo player. Dan is also an audio wizard, and he's amazing at what he does. Dan engineered the first album too, along with Preston White, at Southern Ground. That's Zac Brown's studio, which is just incredible. Dan has been amazing to work with. His work ethic is incredible, and we definitely wanted to go back and work on the next album with him. 
We also worked with John Mailander, who plays fiddle with Bruce Hornsby & The Noisemakers, on the new album. He played fiddle on two of Billy Strings' albums (Home & Renewal). He plays with Billy a good bit. Having Dan and John on the creative side of the second album has just been a leveling up experience. The first album was great. We were figuring out how to swim. Then with the second album, now we know how to swim and we're working on technique. Getting going in the pool quicker, or maybe in a more beautiful way. 
I don't know if that's a good analogy or not (laughs). We leveled up though. Dan has too. It's nice to see these relationships that we have, where we are all progressing, and we're all able to continuously scratch each other's backs as our careers heighten and progress. It's really been cool.
As far as the new album, will this be material that you guys have tested live? Will there be anything that's brand new to your fans?
Alex: I want to say that everything has been played live, but several songs have only been played a few times. We've been on the road testing some of them out. We haven't played them as much back home. I think there will be plenty of people surprised by what's on the album, and the way we present them on the album. There may be some slightly different arrangements and tempos. 
I think people will be really stoked to hear how they are presented on the album. As far as a release date, I wish we could set something in stone. It's funny how it all works out. I'm still learning how the industry works. You can't just record something and release it immediately, which is what I'd like to do. It's done when you get it done. It turns out that there is a little more thought that goes behind these decisions. 
I'm impatient, so I'm trying to hold on. I just want to release it and move on to the next album. We're trying to shop it up and get some publicists backing it. We're really hoping to create some noise around it before we release it. We're waiting on certain factors to fall in place. It will definitely be out this year. Late 2022 is probably a safe bet. it feels like it's been a long time coming. I'm ready to get it out.
Can't wait to hear it. Before we wrap this up, let's talk about Deebs Days. I know y'all are tight with the CBDB guys. You're a Birmingham native. I'm sure this one is extra special for you. How are y'all feeling about being a part of this Birmingham festival in August? What should people expect from Sicard's performance?
Alex: I could go on for days about this. I love Avondale Brewery. My parents live four minutes away from the venue. I grew up across town, but that is literally my family's neighborhood now. I cannot wait for this. We've played the upstairs room at Avondale once before, but this is dreams right now. I've been waiting to play that stage for such a long time. Super stoked on it. Hometown shows are incredible. 
This is going to be the largest caliber show that we've played in Birmingham. I've been waiting for this. It almost feels like our Birmingham debut of sorts, because we've leveled up so much since the last time we played there. We are just elated to be included. As far as the performance goes, there is another bluegrass band in Birmingham called The Mountain Grass Unit...
I know all about those guys. They are really going places.
Alex: Luke, Drury, and Sam are incredible. We love those dudes so much, so you might potentially see some sit-ins, but you can count on high-energy, ripping jam grass. They are INSANE. Absolutely insane. I strive to be on Luke's level on guitar, and he's eight years younger than me. It just goes to show that those guys are next level. They deserve everything coming their way. They're the real deal.
It's great to see that relationship already forming between y'all. I think it's a no brainer that there should be a major tour featuring Sicard Hollow & The Mountain Grass Unit down the road. 
Alex: Absolutely. 100%. We feel the same way. Not that they have anything to prove to us, but it certainly didn't take much to catch our attention. You hear the first 30 seconds of their set and you're just like, "Holy shit! They are on to something."
Can't wait to see what all will unfold down the road with these two bands on the road. I really appreciate your time today, Alex. Can't wait to catch my first Sicard set at Deebs Days in August.
Alex: Thanks so much Jordan. We're just as excited!

Big Something Reveals Lineup For Annual Festival: The Big What? June 13, 2022 16:08

Photo + Press Release via Big Something

Click Here: Purchase Tickets to The Big What?

Big Something has announced the 2022 lineup for their annual Summer music festival and campout - The Big What? - taking place August 4 - 6, 2022 at Pops Farm in Martinsville, VA after a 2 year hiatus. Formerly held in North Carolina, The Big What? will begin a new chapter in its 9 year history with a short move just across state lines to one of Virginia’s most pristine outdoor music venues, Pops Farm, also home to Rooster Walk Music Festival.

“We are so excited to reunite with the ‘what-fam’ for a new adventure together at Pops Farm,” Nick MacDaniels of Big Something explains. “This is going to be a unique creative experience for the band and our community and we are very grateful to have both Pops Farm and Rooster Walk supporting our vision. We've got a lot of fun ideas in mind already and can't wait to bring The Big What? back to life in this beautiful new space."

Every year since the festival first formed in 2012, The Big What? has featured a 3 day musical and artistic journey curated by Big Something, Possum Holler Productions and Life Is Art Studios. Now in its 9th year, The Big What? will continue where it left off in 2019 with the same core team of organizers plus additional support from members of the Rooster Walk organization. Fans can expect a fun and collaborative environment with multiple unique performances by Big Something plus an eclectic lineup of musicians, artists and performers.

Phil Lesh & Friends + Wilco to Join Forces as 'PHILCO' at Sacred Rose June 10, 2022 08:06

Press Release via Sacred Rose
Phil Lesh & Friends joins previously-announced headliners Khruangbin, The War On Drugs, Black Pumas, Umphrey’s McGee, Joe Russo’s Almost Dead, Goose, STS9, Greensky Bluegrass, Kamasi Washington, Animal Collective, and Margo Price
 Friday, August 26 - Sunday, August 28, 2022 at Chicagoland’s SeatGeek Stadium Campus

Chicago’s new multi-genre festival SACRED ROSE, debuting at SeatGeek Stadium on August 26 - 28, 2022, has announced details of its Friday, August 26 headliner Phil Lesh & Friends..Featuring the world debut of special guests Wilco’s Jeff Tweedy (vocalist/guitarist) and Nels Cline (guitarist) alongside host and captain of the musical ship Phil Lesh, SACRED ROSE will proudly present the first-ever ‘PHILCO’ performance. The headlining Friday night set in Wilco’s native Chicago will truly be a once-in-a-lifetime musical moment, melding together the fabrics of two iconic American bands for the first (and likely last) time ever. Anchored by Lesh’s white-hot bass riffs, PHILCO will see Tweedy channel Jerry Garcia’s vocal power while Cline purveys six-string shredding.

Also joining Lesh, Tweedy and Cline is an all-star roster of critically-acclaimed musicians including Jeff Chimenti (Dead & Co, Wolfpack), Karl Denson (Rolling Stones, Greyboy Allstars), John Molo (Phil Lesh & Friends), Stu Allen (Phil Lesh & Friends + Dark Star Orchestra), Grahame Lesh (Phil Lesh & Friends + Midnight North), and Elliott Peck (Midnight North).

Says Wilco’s Jeff Tweedy: “Nels and I are honored to be asked to join Phil and Friends for Sacred Rose. There has been so much about Phil and the Dead to be inspired by over the years, from their longtime musical brotherhood to their wonderful and incomparable music, to their relentless touring and longevity. But perhaps the biggest inspiration is their dedication to the community that has grown up around them. This is a trait that we in Wilco deeply appreciate and have aimed to emulate over the years. There’s nothing better than playing music with your friends, for your friends." 

Lesh has a special relationship with Wilco, dating back to 1999 when the Grateful Dead founding member performed his catalog hit “Ripple” with the band at their California concert. In 2016, Wilco joined forces with Lesh’s fellow founding member Bob Weir to cover Grateful Dead’s “St. Stephen,” with Leshreturning the favor in 2019 when his Terrapin Family Band covered Wilco’s “Misunderstood”.

SACRED ROSE’s eclectic line-up spans the sweet sounds of Americana, psych-rock, jam, indie, soul, funk and bluegrass which includes Khruangbin, The War On Drugs, Black Pumas, Umphrey’s McGee, Joe Russo’s Almost Dead, Goose, STS9, Greensky Bluegrass, Kamasi Washington, Animal Collective, Margo Price, and many more

Both 3-day and single-day tickets are on sale now!


Phil Lesh & Friends aka PHILCOKhruangbinThe War On DrugsBlack PumasUmphrey's McGeeJoe Russo's Almost DeadGooseSTS9Greensky BluegrassThe Disco BiscuitsKamasi WashingtonSt. Paul & The Broken BonesPunch BrothersDawesAnimal CollectiveHiatus KaiyoteThe Wood BrothersCity and ColourYves TumorLettuceMoon TaxiCory WongLotusThe Infamous Stringdusters Feat. Molly TuttleWith Special Guest Margo Price (Artist At Large)


Andy Frasco and the U.N.Blu DeTigerCircles Around The SunDanielle PonderGone Gone BeyondHolly BowlingKarina RykmanKitchen DwellerslespecialLiz CooperLuke MitraniMaggie RoseMidnight NorthNicole AtkinsSierra HullSunSquabi Feat. Kanika Moore (Artist At Large)SyzygalThe Dip

White Denim

Deebs Days Countdown: An Interview with Cy Simonton of CBDB June 8, 2022 16:32

Photo by Kinsey Haynes
Interview by Jordan Kirkland: Live & Listen
As most music fans in and around the Birmingham area are already aware, CBDB and Big Friendly Productions have joined forces to bring an incredible new festival to Avondale Brewing Company this summer. Deebs Days Music Festival is pinned for Friday, August 19th and Saturday, August 20th in Birmingham (AL), and all signs point to an incredible celebration. If you haven't gotten around to purchasing your weekend passes, we've got you covered. Simply click the link below and secure your spot while you still can. 
As we prepare for the festival, we're catching up with a handful of the performers on the lineup. It was an easy decision to kick off the "Deebs Days Countdown" with none other than Cy Simonton of CBDB. Cy is not only the frontman and founding member of the band, but also one of the driving forces behind this entire concept. Check out the full conversation below to learn a little bit more about the year as a whole for CBDB, their recent hiatus announcement, and everything you can expect at Deebs Days in August. 

It's great to sit down and catch up for a few minutes today, Cy. I figured we could kick off the interview by touching on the latest announcement from CBDB. The band has decided to press pause and take an indefinite hiatus following Deebs Days. What would you like to share about this announcement?

Cy: Yeah man. As far as taking the pause, I think we're just wanting to take a break from being on the road. Try some new things for a bit. I think change is good for the soul sometimes. I think that's what we're looking for. We are looking at Deebs Days as a celebration of the last ten years, I think it will be a perfect celebration of that. 

Totally agree. There's no better way to send the band off for a break and allow y'all to recharge. See what the next proper chapters are in life, right?

Cy: For sure, man.

Tell me a little bit about how this year has gone thus far for the band. I'm sure it's been a blessing to be able to get back out there and play so many of the band's favorite cities and venues. 

Cy: We've had some incredible shows. Knowing that this has been coming, I think that being on stage has been super special. You really try to soak it all in and not take anything for granted. Brooklyn Bowl (Nashville) with Sicard Hollow and LadyCouch was incredible. Both of those bands will be at Deebs Days. The new Brooklyn Browl is just a killer room. We had a great crowd, and that felt really good. A lot of the shows in the Northeast were super fun. Syracuse, Baltimore, Charlottesville, really all of them have been a lot of fun. 

That's so great to hear man. I know y'all just played Candler Park Music Festival in Atlanta. I know that had to be special for you. Playing another major, long standing festival where you grew up. How did things go over in Atlanta last weekend?

Cy: It went really well man. The crowd was super great. I thought we played really well. It was such a great vibe. We were grateful to be a part of it. The weather was perfect. Just great vibes all around at Candler Park.

Love that. Well, let's jump a little more into Deebs Days. I know that the band has been tossing the idea around of curating your own festival for a while now. It's been a really successful concept for many bands that you guys have come up around. Tell me about the thought process that went into this and how you landed on Avondale Brewery.

Cy: Having our own festival is something we've been thinking about for a few years. We knew it would be in Alabama. That's always been home base for the band, even if we don't all live there anymore. From there, it came down to Avondale or Horse Pens 40. The camping aspect is something that is super, super fun, but I think that throws another wrinkle in it for a first time festival. I think, for us, Birmingham felt like the right place to do it.

In Birmingham, Avondale Brewery is clearly the right option. We've had so many great shows there. It's always felt like a home base for us. When I brought this up to Alex Cape (Big Friendly Productions) a while back, he was super into it. I think he had been thinking about doing something similar at Avondale for a while. I think when we had this conversation, it was kind of a serendipitous moment of "this is how we're going to make this happen." 

That's great. From what I understand, this will be the first event to bring in a second stage to the Avondale concert grounds. This will really allow y'all to create a true festival flow.

Cy: Yeah man. It should really allow us to have a seamless thing going that weekend. As soon as one band ends, the next one gets started. No time for any fluff (laughs).

That's really exciting man. Looking at the lineup, CBDB will be playing both nights. You've got Brass Against coming in to headline on Friday. How did y'all go about putting together this group of bands to come together for Deebs Days?

Cy: I think there were a few things that were really important to us with the lineup. We obviously wanted to have bands that are friends of ours that we love. Both local and those outside of the area. We also wanted to make sure that we had a diverse lineup. We didn't want it to be just one vibe. We wanted to be able to bounce around multiple genres that we all enjoy.

Brass Against is gonna be killer. That's just a big, high-energy brass band. They do Rage Against The Machine, Deftones, and Tool covers, along with some original material. I think that's gonna be really fun. We have some great bluegrass acts. There are obviously some awesome jam bands like Mungion or Daniel Donato with the cosmic country but we also are covering more straight forward rock and roll with Dave Hause and others. You have a band like Audiophile, which brings more of a modern indie/pop/rock element to the lineup. We wanted to have lots of different flavors, and I think we accomplished that.  

Absolutely. I think you definitely did that. There's something for everyone, when you start digging through each of the bands pinned to perform. A lot of musical flavors that all kinds of patrons can enjoy. 

Aside from what we've discussed thus far. What message would you like to send to your fans? I know there are some bittersweet emotions surrounding this time period. What would you like to say to those who have supported the band through the years?

Cy: Oh man. Just so much love and gratitude. There are so many incredible memories from the road. So many people have shown us so much generosity. People letting us crash in their homes, cooking meals, buying tickets and merch, and just coming out to support the band night after night. All of it means the world to each of us. I'd really just like to say "thank you" to everyone who has supported us. It has meant the world to us. Then, I'd also like to say, "Get your Deebs Days tickets, and let's get ready to rage!"

That's right. The fans can get ready for what should be two of the most exciting CBDB shows to date. 

Cy: Absolutely. We've been hearing from a lot of people from all over. We're excited to hear that we have people getting flights and traveling from all over for the weekend. The vibe should be incredible, with a lot of close friends coming together in one spot. 

That's amazing to hear. Is there anything else you'd like to touch on before we wrap up?

Cy: I think the main thing is just recognizing all of the hard work and energy that our team and the Big Friendly team are putting into this. Without spoiling any surprises, there are going to be some amazing art installations built for the festival. There has been so much attention to detail. Big Friendly are incredibly valuable to the festival, and we would not be able to pull this off without all of the hard work that they're putting in.

No doubt about that man. That's an incredible group of folks, and you won't find a more talented production company. Knowing that they're on board is fantastic. 

Cy: Absolutely man. I couldn't agree more.

Well, it's always a pleasure chatting, my friend. Excited to be a part of this and can't wait to see it all come together.  

Cy: Likewise, man. Thank you Jordan!

Don't Miss Michael Weintrob's InstrumentHead Revealed Book Launch in Birmingham June 8, 2022 13:10

Press Release via Michael Weintrob
Instrumenthead:  Revealed Exhibit & Book Launch (Michael Weintrob) 
Saturday, June 11 @ 2:00pm CT 
2920 6th Avenue South, Birmingham, AL 
Art, Live music, Food 
“When you mix art and music like you’ve done here, it’s just phenomenal. It doesn’t get any better than this,” the great Allen Toussaint once said to photographer Michael Weintrob.  The exhibition was for his 2017 book Instrumenthead, where Weintrob photographed 369 musicians with their signature instruments covering their heads, for some of the most unusual portraits in modern music.  “This is where musicians’ heads are really at,” adds Weintrob.   The book won the Independent Publisher Book Award for Most Outstanding Design.
Weintrob’s companion book Instrumenthead:  Revealed will be published April 26, 2022 and will showcase “unmasked” portraits of these same musicians, including Bootsy Collins, Susan Tedeschi, Mickey Hart, Johnny Winter, Charlie Musselwhite, all with their own style and artistry.  Preorder is available now at
Three dollars of every book sold will benefit the New Orleans Musicians’ Clinic.  Founded by a coalition of music advocates in 1998, the New Orleans’ Musicians’ Clinic is the first medical clinic for musicians, performing artists and cultural workers in the US. 
“I want to do my part to inspire people to learn about new music and the artists who create it,” adds Weintrob, who photographed the unmasked portraits during the original Instrumenthead sessions.   “I love to connect and break down walls with my photography.  Everyone has the ability to be a kid again. This book is really special, because we’re unmasking the original photos. The book reflects the new energy this year.” 
Concert promoter Peter Shapiro added, “Michael Weintrob brings a new approach and new ideas to how to capture musicians in a way where their soul shines through, often in a way that doesn’t come through during the best jam session on-stage. It’s Michael’s ability to capture their inner spirit off-stage that separates him from others, and makes him one of the best music photographers of his generation.”
Victor Wooten adds, “Michael Weintrob is a musician, not just any kind, he is musician of the highest caliber. The difference between Michael, myself, and all the other subjects in this work of art is that Michael’s instrument is a camera. Weintrob is a visionary!  As we all journey toward a better tomorrow, there seems to be no better time than now to lower our masks and unveil the faces behind the Instrument Heads.”
About Michael Weintrob 
Two decades of navigating the music business and transforming the storytelling of image, photographer Michael Weintrob’s work spans all aspects of industry. Created in the field where he has shot over 5,000 artists in-concert or his Brooklyn studio, Weintrob’s work covers everything from advertising to editorial needs showcasing the live element of performance and conceptual campaigns of portraiture.
Weintrob has acted as house photographer for Red Rocks Amphitheater, The Festival Network, the CareFusion Jazz Festival Series, and Bluegrass Underground, and is currently the house pick for OZ Nashville’s Brave New Art celebrating its inaugural season.
Major exhibitions of work have been hosted in Spain by the US Consulate, in New Orleans during the Jazz and Heritage Festival and in Charleston for the Spoleto Art Festival and the Newport Jazz Festival. His work benefits the New Orleans Musicians’ Clinic and Assistance Foundation, Sweet Relief Musicians Fund, Rock the Earth, The Music Maker Foundation and the Newport Festivals Foundation with plans to continue giving as long as there are stories to tell.